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% ARTHUR CAYLEY, the Younger, Esq. 

Like Cafo firm, like Aristides just. 

Like rigid Cincinnatus nobly poor, 

A tlauDtless soul, erect, who smil'd on death. thoj«sok» 


Vol. I. 




I'rintidtj lUwiJlll, D><gt aixi SlniiuoH, EJinturgb, 




Biograpliers of Sir Thomas More. . . . Mr. Roper. . . , Mr. More. ... 

The knighfs ancestry Sir John More. . . . Sir Thomas* mother. 

.... His birth. , , . Anecdote of his infancy.. . . . His school-education. 
.... Cardinal Morton. . . . More's early talents. . . . Specimen of his 
early wit and rejection. . . . He is sent to Oxford, . . . His first ac- 
quaintance with Erasmus. . . . JVolsey. . . . More studieth the law. . . . 
He is made reader at Furnival' s-inn, and reads a public lecture. . . . 
His verses on Elizabeth, queen to Henry F"!/. . . . He discovers some 
inclination for the monastic state. . . . Erasmus' early high opinion of 
him Dean Colet. . . . More's letter to him Colet's Iiigh opi- 
nion of More. . . . More marries Jane Colte. . . . His family by her. 
. ... He renews his application to the law. . . . Henry VII. . . . More't 

early patriotism. ...He offends the king Henry's revenge. . . . 

More escapes Dr. Fo.t'x xnarp. . . . His application in retirement. ... . 
Four juvenile poems by him 3 


Accession of Henry PUT. . . . Consummation of his marriage with 

Catharine of Arragon More re-appears in the world and writes 

verses on the coronation. . . . Anecdote of Emson and Dudley 

More's attucltment to Erasmus. . . . He is made one of the under- 
sheriff's. . . . His high estimation as a laivyer. . . . He replies to Dor- 
pius His second wife. . . . Henry desires to engage him in his ser- 
vice: . . . He accompanies Tonstall to Flanders His letter to Eras- 
mus on hti embassy Buslciden and JEgidms More's letter to 

Jt^arham He pleads a cause for the pope. . . . Is knighted, &c . . . 



His account of hhjirst advancement. . . . Henry\s earlier court. . . . 
T/ie /ling's intimacy tvilh More. . . . Luther. . . . Erasmus persecuted. 
.... More expected the reformation. . . . Edivard Lee attacks Eras- 
mus. . . . More defends him. '. .' . Brixitis attacks More. . . . Erasmus 
defe'uls him. . . . Morels letter to the university of Oxford. , . . He is 
made speaker of the commons: . . '. His speech on the occasion. . . . 
Anecdotes of IVolsey and More. . . . IVolscy wishes to send, him to 
Spain. . . . Progress of Luther. . . . Henry writes agaiiisL him, and 
More is suspected. . , . Luther's reply and Ross' rejoinder^ . . ^ Eras- 
mus writes against Luther. . , . More is exhorted to ivrite. . . . His 
character in the Ciceronianus. . . . He is made chancellor of the 
duchy of Lancaster. . . . Anecdote of the king and More, . . . More 
is sent on foreign e7nbassies. . . . His success at Camlray. . . . His loss 
hyfire, and letter to his wife 59 

CHAP. m. 

Cardinal IVolsey. . . . His advancement, and quarrel with the emperor 
Charles. . . . Anecdotes of More and Wolsey. . . . The kings scruples 
regarding his marriage. . . . His inconsistency. . . . More's conduct in 
tlie matter. . . , fVolseys fall. . . . More made chancellor. . . . The 
duke of Norfolk's speech and Mores on the occasion. . . . More's im- 
provement in the office. . . . His respect to his father, aud impartiali- 
ty to his family. . . . Anecdotes of his chancellorship. . . . He clears 
the chancery of causes. . . . He is offered money by the bishops for 
his writings. . . . Is again importuned by Henry on the divorce. . . . 
He determines to resign the seal. . . . JVhich he at last effects. . . . 
Henry' s promise to him. . . . More's contempt of worldly grandeur. 
.... His wife is more concerned. . . . Anecdotes of her. . . . More 
provides situations for his attendants, and calls together his family. 
.... His poverty. . . . Death of hvs father, and his filial affection. . . . 
His letters to Erasmus on his resignation. . . . His monumental inscrip- 
tion. . . . His buildings and charity at Chelsea. , . . The remarks of 


Fox and otJieis on More's persecution of heterodoxij. . . . State of the 
Unies. . . . Mon's own rafutation of his calumniators g5 


Morf:^s anticipation of his fate. . ..He withdraws from public business. 
.... His remark on Henry's second marriage, and advice to Crom- 
nell. . . . His behaviour io the bishops. . . . Malignant scrutiny on his 
conduct. . . . The nun of Kent. . . . More's letter to Cromivell, and a 
curious anecdote. . . . More accused of misprision of treason. . . . Cou' 
duct of the committee for examining him. . . . More's firmness. . . . 
His letter to the king., < . . He is accused of ingratitude. . , . His re- 
ply. . . . Anecdote on his return home. . . . The king's conduct. . . , 
More's name erased from the bill. . . . Acts passed in parliament. . . . 
Henry's triumph in his new titles. . . . Opinions of the Romish party, 
and of their adversaries. . . . More refuseth the oath of succession. . . . 
He is cited to appear at Lambeth, . . . His foreboding, and letter to 
Jiis daughter. . . . Cranmer's arguTnent, and his curious letter. . . . 
More and Fisher committed to the Tower, and attainted. . . . More's 
sentiments on the king's marriage, and the pope's primacy 141 


Henry FHI atid Constantius More' s firmness. . . , Anecdotes. ..." 

Mrs. Roper visiteth him His pains to meet his fate in a becoming 

manner. . . . His rejection on the execution of Reynolds, &c. . . . His 

verses on Cromwell's promise Lady More visiteth him, and some 

of the privy -council. . . . His two letters to his daughter His 

books taken from him. . . . Rich's conversation with More. . . . More 

arraigned. . . . The commissioners and jury More's answer to the 

indictment His answer to Rich The jury find him guilty 

His arguments as to the insufficiency of the indictment The chan- 
cellor's answer, and More's reply Sentence passed upon him 

Farther proceedings More's courage and constancy. . . . His meet- 



ing with his children. . . . Anecdote. . . . His last letter to his daugh- 
ter. . . . Sir Thomas Pope sent to him. . . . More's preparation for 
death. . . . His last jokes, and execution. . . , His burial 19 


Anecdote. . . . Queen Ann and Cranmer indolent in More's cause. . . . 
Effects of More's execution. . . . Sentiments of the Emperor Charlei^ 
Cardinal Pole, and Paulus Jovius. . . . More's religion, bigotry, &c. 
.... Not so extravagant as some, in his notions of the papal power. 
.... His pr opens it 1/ to jesting, and witty sayings. . . . His behaviour 
at his death natural. . . . His disinterestedness, and integrity while 
chancellor, and virtue as a patriot minister. . , . Queen Catharine's 
opinion of More. . . . His greatness of mind, excellent temper, and 
good management of his family. . . . Other traits of his character. 
.... His learning, modesty, and benevolence. . . . His Utopia, History 
of Richard Ul, epigrams, letteis, and controversial writings. . . . 
Jiumet's character of him as a writer. . . . The editions of More's 
English and Latin works. . , . His pergonal peculiarities. . . . His fa- 
mily, . . . Erasmus' encomium on More's house. . . . Mrs. Roper. . . . 
Her letter to her father in prison. . . . Her daughter Basset. . . . 
More's letter to Gonellus. . . . The death of Erasmus and view of Mi 
character. . . . More's remonstrances with him misrepresented. . . 25f 


Erasmus R(4. Vlrtco Hulteno 2^7 

Erasmus Rot. Gulielmo Budico 306 

Gulielmus Covrinus Nucerinus Philippo Montano 310 

Clarorum et Doctorum Virorum vnria Epigrammata in laudem Thomct 
Mori 328 




Vol. I. B 





Biographers of SirThomas More Mr. Roper. . . . Mr. More Tht 

knight's ancestry. . . . Sir John More. . . . Sir Thomas' mother. . . . His 
birth. . . . Anecdote of his irfancy. . . . His school- education. . . . Car- 
dinal Morton. . . . More's earli/ talents. . . . Specimen of his early wit 
and reflection. . . . He is sent to Oxford. . . . Hisfirst acquaintance with 
Erasmus. . . . JVolsey. . . . More studieth the law. . . . He is made 
reader at FurnivaP s-inn, and reads a public lecture. . . . His verses on 
Elizabeth, queen to Henry VH. . . . He discovers some inclination 
for the monastic state, . . . Erasmus^ early high opinion of him. . . . 
Dean Colet. . . . More's letter to him. . . . Colet^s high opinion of 
More. . . . More marries Jane Colte. . . . His family by her. . . . He 
renews his application to the law. . . . Henry VII. . . . More's early 
patriotism. , . . He offends the king. . . . Henry's revenge. . . . More 
escapes Dr. Fox's snare. . . , His application in retirement. . . . Four 
Juvenile poems by him, 

B 2 


J.F examples of the most rigid integrity, with the sacrifiee 
of life itself in the cause of supposed truth, deserve the at- 
tention of mankind, few characters op record can have a 
higher claim to this attention than our celebrated country- 
man Sir Tliomas IMore. 

Our most authentic sources of information respecting 
him are, his Lite written by William Roper, Esq. who mar- 
ried his favourite daughter Margaret ; that written by Tho- 
mas ]\Iorc, Escj. his great-grandson ; and a letter or two by 
Erasmus relative to his friend's domestic histor}'. The other 
extant accounts of Sir Thomas arc little else than copies 
from one or other of these, and throw no new light on his 

Mr. Roper, naturally the more likely of the two bio- 
graphers tp be well-inl'ormed upon the subject, hath been 
accused of allowing his affection to prevail in some mea- 
sure over his judgment on this occasion, and of writing a 
panegyric rather than a history. Habits of long intimacy 
with a character of great domestic worth, it is true, attach 
us to it in a degree of enthusiasm, and one so long enjoy- 
ing the intimacy and esteem of such a character as the 
knight, had, we must allow, peculiar difficulties to encounter 
in this way, when he afterward became his biographer. As 
to his qualification in point of information, however, we may 
allow his own words to be imanswerable, — knowing hi? do- 
ings and mind no man living so well, by reason I zc-as con- 


ibiually resident in Ids house hij the space of sixteen years and 
more. And for the respectability of his character, though 
tombstones too often exaggerate, let his epitaph, as pre- 
served by Mr. Somner, be allowed to speak. 

Hie jacet 

Vencrabilis vir Gulielmus Roper armiger, 

Filius ct hasies quondam Johannis Roperi armigcri; 

Et Margareta, 

Uxor ejusdcm Gulielmi, 

Filia quondam Tlioma; Mori militis 

Siimmi olim Angliae cancellarii ; 

Graecis Latinisque Uteris doctissima. 

Qui quidera Gulielmus patri suo in officio 

Prothonotarialus suprema; curias bauci 

Rcgii successit ; in quo cum annis liv 

Fideliter ministrasset, idem officium 

Filio suo priraogenito Thoraae reliquit. 

Fuit is Gulielmus domi forisque munificens, 

Mitis, raisericors ; incarceratorum, 

Oppressorum et paupcrum baculus. 

Genuit px Mnrg.irpla nxore, quam unicara 

Habuit, filios duos et filias tres ; ex iis 

Vidit in vita sua nepotes et pronepotes. 

Uxorem in virili a!tatc amisit ; viduatus uxore, 

Castissime vixit annis xxxiii. 

Tandem completis in pace diebus, decessit 

In senectute bona ab omnibus desideratus 

Die IV mensis Jan. ann. Chr. Salv. m.dlxxvii 

iEtatis vero suae lxxxii. 

Mr. More, whose account of the knight is fuller than 
that of his predecessor, may be presumed from his direct 


relationship, to have made his additions with authenticity. 
He is said to have been a person of respectability, and to 
liave been employed by the English clergy as their agent in 
Spain and at the court of Rome. On his death, the English 
Roman catholic clergy erected a monument to his memory, 
as a testimony of their respect and the sense they had of 
his services. A celebrated protestant divine of our country 
pronounces him, however, a narroK-m'indtd zealot and a 
very fanatic ; while Anthony Wood says of his Life of Sir 
Thomas, that it is incomparably well written, a judgment to 
be expected from "\^'ood — similes hahent labra lactucas. His 
bigotted attachment to the religion of his celebrated an- 
cestor is indeed too apparent in his work ; and his biogra- 
phical follower hath moreover frequent cause to regret his 
neglect of chronological order, he having pretty imi)licitly 
followed the indiflerent arrangement of Staplcton. ^\'e will 
add his epitaph as preserved by AVood. 

D. O. M. S. 

Tlioma' Moro (Hoc. cbor. anglo 

-Alagni illiiis Tlioma IVIori Anglic canccllarii 

L't martj ris proucpoti alque liarcdi ; 

Viro probitatc et pictatc insigiii ; 

Qjii, raro admodum apud Britanuos exempio, 

In fratrein natu minorein amplum transcripsit 

Patriinoiiium, et presbyler Romae factus, 

Inde jusiu scdis apostolica; in patriam 

Projcctus, plu!^cuios arinos strenuam fidei 

Propagaiidap iiavavit operam. 

Postca cleri angUcani negotia tii annos RonicE 

Et in Hiipaiiia P. P. Paulo v et Gregorio iv 


Surama integritate et industria 

Suisque sumptibus procuravit- 

Tandem de subrogando anglis episcopo 

Ad Urban, vni missus, negotio eo felicitei 

Coufecto, laborura mercedem recepturus, 

Ex hac vita migravit 

XI Apr ; Ann : m.dcxxv 

^tatis suae Lix. 

Clems anglicanus msestus P. 

The modem biographer of Sir Thomas More, as all of 
his intermediate biographers have done, must rely on these 
two writers as his safest guides. We shall find their ac- 
counts to admit of considerable amplification as we pro- 
ceed ; and should either of our conductors occasionally 
make what appears to us a false step, we must endeavour 
to use what circumspection we can at this distant period in 
avoiding his error. 

Respecting the knight's early ancestry, both of our guides 
have left n*; ill infunued. From the great-grandson, how- 
ever, we learn that Sir John INIore, knight, the father of 
Sir Thomas, bare arms from his birth, having his coat quar- 
tered. By reason of Henry VIII.'s seizure of their evidences, 
he adds, the family could not make out their ancestry ; but 
he had heard that they proceeded from the Mores of Ire- 
land, or the latter from them. Sir Thomas himself informs 
us in his epitaph, that he sprang fi'om no noble family but of 
an honest stock. 

Sir John More appears to have been born about the year 


1440.* lie is said to have been a lawyer of disUiigiiished 
talents and integrity, and was one of the justices of the 
King's Bench in the reign of Henry VIII. f He is described 
by Sir Thomas in the epitaph already alluded to, homo ci- 
vilis, suavis, innocens, niitis, miscricors, cquus et integer ; an- 
nis quidem gravis, sed corpore plusqtiam pro atatc vivido. He 
lived to a eieat ao-e, and had the singular fortune of seeing 
liis son Chancellor of England, as will appear by an anec- 
dote hereafter to be related. 

Camden, in his Remains, relates a bon-mot of Sir John 
which will not preposses the fair sex in his favour. He com- 
pared a man choosing a wife, to one who dipped his hand 
into a bag which contained twenty snakes and one eel — it 
was tzienttj to one t/iat he caught the eel. 

After this, we are surprised at finding that the old gen- 
tleman had the resolution to take three dips himself; for we 
learn that he was thrice married. 

The maiden name of his first wiic, the mother of Sir 
Tliomas, was Ilandcombe, of Holywell in Bedford- 
shire. The age of portents was not yet gone by ; and Dr. 
Clement, a famous physician of the time, and the intimate 
friend of More, reported of her, that, on the night after her 
marriage, she saw, in a dream, engraven on her wedding 
ring, the number and characters of her children, the face 
of one shining uith superior brightness. She had Jane, mar- 

* Erasmus to Budteus. f More> 


ried to Richard Stafferton, Esq. whom Mr. More calls a 
noble gentleman ; Elizabeth, wife of John Rastell, Esq. 
the father of Judge Rastell ; and Thomas, the celebrated 
subject of these memoirs. Of Sir John's other wives we 
only know, that the christian name of the last was Alice. 
She lived on her jointure in Hertfordshire, at a messuage 
then called jNIoreplace, but since Gubbons, in the parish 
of Northmimes, and outlived her son-in-law. Being de- 
prived of her possessions in Henry's fury, a little before her 
death, she died at Northal, about a mile distant, and was 
buried in that church.* 

Thomas, the only son of Sir John More, was born at his 
father's usual residence in Milk-street, London, in 1480, i46o. 
the twentieth year of the reign of our fourth Edward. An- 
other presage of the child's future eminence, related by his 
nurse, is, that one day as she was riding with him in her 
arms over a piece of water, the horse slipt by accident in- 
to a deep and dangerous hole. To give the infant, a chance 
for his life, she threw him over a hedge into a field, and 
having afterward, with much difficult}-, made her own escape, 
she found him, to her no small surprise, not only unhurt, 
but sAveetly smiling upon her. f 

The school of S'. Anthony in the parish of Bennet-fink, 
in Thread needle-street, belonging to an hospital of the same 
name, which had been in high reputation since the time of 
Henry VI, and, beside other eminent persons, numbereth 

* More. t More. 

Vol. I: C 


archbishops Heath and AVhitgift among its scholars, aflord- 
cd More hkewise ihc rudiments of his education.* Here 
a learned man named Nicholas Holt was his master, under 
whom, to use INIr. More's expression, he rather greedily de- 
voured than lehuvcly chezved his grannnar rules, and far sur- 
passed all his schoolfellows in understanding and diligence. 

By the interest of his father, iVIore afterward became an 
inmate of the house of Cardinal Morton, f of whom he 
hath transmitted us a high character, as well in his Utopia 
as in his History of Richard HI. His authority in the state, 
saith More, was not more weighty than were his wisdom 
and virtue ; his eloquence was polished and convincing, his 
skill great as a lawyer, his understanding incomparable, his- 
memory very extraordinary. The king and state relied up- 
on his counsel, for it was his policy which placed the crown 
of the usuipcr Richard upon the head of Henry, and unit- 
ed the houses of York and Lancaster. Henry VIII made 
him archbishop of Canterbury and chancellor of England, 
to which the pope added the honour of cardinal. 

Mr. Roper informs us, that while More was in the car- 
dinal's house, though he were young of years, yet would he 
at Christmas suddenly sometimes step-in among the players, 
and, never studying for the matter, make apart of his ore n 
there presently among them, zchich made the lookers-on more 
apart than all the players beside. The cardinal, he adds, 
took sreat deliirht in his wit and towardness, and would 

* Roper and Newcourt* + Utopia and Ropfr. 

SIR T. MORE. 11 

often say of More to the nobility who happened to be din- 
ing witli him, this child, here waiting at the table, zvhosoever 
shall live to see it, will prove a marvellous man. 

The following curious specimen of More's early wit and 
reflection, is extracted from his English works. 

' 2^, 'CiomaSi S^xt in his youth devised in his father's house 
in London, a goodly hanging of fine painted cloth with 
nine pageants and verses over every one of those pageants, 
which verses expressed and declared what the images in 
those pageants represented. And also in those pageants 
were painted the things that the verses over them did in 
effect declare. Which verses here follow. 

In the first pageant was painted a boy playing at the 
top and scourge, and over this pageant was written as fol- 


I am called Cliildhood, in play is all ray miud 

To cast a quoit, a cokstcle and a ball, 
A top can I set and drive it in his kind ; 

But would to God these hateful bookes all 

Were in a fire burnt to powder small ; 
Then might I lead my life always in play. 
Which life God send me to mine ending day ! 

C 2 


In the second pageant was painted a goodly fresh young 
man, riding upon a goodly horse, having a hawk on hiu 
fist and a brace of greyhounds following him. And under 
the horse's feet was painted the same boy that in the first 
pageant was playing at the top and scourge. And over 
this second pageant the writing was this. 


Manhood I am, therefore I me delight 

To hunt and hawk, to nourish-up and feed, 
The greyhound to the course, the hawk to the flight, 

And to bestride a good and liisfy steed—— 

These things become a very man indeed. 
Yet thinketh this boy his peevish game sweeter, 
But what, no force, his reason is no better. 

In the third pageant was painted the goodly young man. 
(in the second pageant) lying on the ground. And upon 
him stood Lady Venus, goddess of love, and by her upon 
this man stood the little God Cupid. And over this third 
pageant this was the writing that followcth. 


Whoso na knoweth the strength, power, and might 

Of Venus and me her little son Cupid ; 
Thou Manhowl shalt a mirrour be aright 

By us subdued for all tliy great pride, 

My fiery dart pierccth thy tender side. 
Now thou who erst dispisedst children small 
Shall wax a child again and be my thrall. 

SIR T. MORE. 14 

In the fourth pageant was painted an old sage father, 
sitting in a chair. And lying under his feet was painted 
the image of Venus and Cupid that Avere in the third pa- 
geant. And over this fourth pageant the scripture was this. 


Old age am I, with lockes thin and hoar, 

Of our short life the last and best part, 
Wise and discreet } the public weal therefore 

I help to rule, to my labour and smart. 

Therefore Cupid withdraw thy fiery dart. 
Chargeable matters shall of love oppress 
Thy childish game and idle business. 

In the fifth pageant was painted an image of Death, and 
under his feet lay the old man in the fourth pageant. And, 
above this fifth pageant, this Avas the saying. 


Though T he foul, iigl>, lean, and jiilshape, 

Yet there is none in all this world wide, 
That may my power withstand or escape ; 

Therefore sage father, greatly magnified, 

Descend from your chair, set apart your pride. 
Vouchsafe to lend, the' it be to your pain, 
To me, a fool, some of your wise brain. 

In the sixth pageant was painted Lady Fame, and un- 
der her feet was the picture of Death that was in the fifth 


pageant. And over this sixth pageant the writing was as 


Fame I am called, marvel jou nothing, 

Though with (ongucs am compassed all round, 

For in voice of people is my chief living, 
O cruel Death, thy power I confound. 
When thou a noble man hast brought to ground, 

Maugre thy teeth, to live cause him shall I 

Of people in perpetual memory. 

In the seventh pageant was painted the image of Time, 
and under his feet Avas lying the picture of Fame that was 
in the sixth pageant. And this Avas the scripture over this 
seventh pageant. 


I whom thou sees with liorologe in hand, 

Am named Time, tho laid of pvery bour, 
I shall in space destroy both sea and land. 

O simple Fame, bow darest thou man honour, 

Promising of his name an endless flower ; 
Who may in the world have a name eternal 
W^hen I shall in process destroy the world and all. 

In the eighth pageant wa« pictured the image of Lady 
Eternity, sitting in a chair, under a sumptuous cloth of 
state, crowned with aji imperial croAvn. And under her 

SIR T. MORE. 15 

feet lay the picture of Time, tliat was in the seventh pageant, 
and above this eighth pageant was it written as foUoweth. 


He needeth not to boast, I am Eternity, 
* The very name signifieth well. 

And mine empire infinite shall be. 

Thou, mortal Time, every man can tell, 
Art nothing else but the mobility 
Of sun and moon, changing in every degree ; 
When they shall leave their course, thou shalt be brought, 
For all thy pride and boasting, into nought. 

In the ninth pageant was painted a poet sitting in a 
chair; and over this pageant were there written, these verses 

in Latin following. 


Has fictas quemcunque.juvat spectare figuras ; 

Sed mira veros qui putat arte homines, 
Ille potest veris animura sic pascere rebus, 

Ut pictis oculos pascit imaginibus. 
Namque videbil uti fragilis bona lubrica mundi, 

Tam cito non veniunt, quam cito pretereunt. 
Gaudia, laus et honor, celeri pede omnia cedunt,^ 

Quid manet excepto semper amore Dei ? 
Ergo homines, levibus jam jam diffidite rebus, 

Nulla reccssuro spes adiiibenda bono. 
Qui dabit icternam nobis pro munere vitam 

In pcrmansuro ponite vota Deo.' 


About the age of seventeen, Cardinal Morton commit- 
ted his charge to the university of Oxford ; according to 
'^^'ood to St. Maryhall, but other writers agree to Canter- 
bury (subsequently Christchurch) college. Mr. Hearn was 
of opinion that he had a chamber at St. Maryhall and 
studied there, but that he belonged to Christchurch.* He 
remained two years at the university, and profited exceed- 
ingly, saith Mr. Roper, in rhetoric, logic, and philosophy ; 
proving, addcth the great-grandson, what wonders wit and 
diligence can accomphsh, when united, as they seldom arc, 
in one painful student. 

That auspicious event in More's history, his intimacy 
with the good and learned Erasmus, probably had its origin 
149;. about this time; the great scholar being at Oxford in 1407- f 
It was probably by his advice and that of other learned 
friends, assisted by his own taste, that More was led not 
to neglect the Greek language in his classical education, 
for it was not commonly studied then in our country. He 
acquired it, we are told, t under the auspices of "William 
Grocyn, at that time professor or public teacher of Greek 
at Oxford, and Thomas Linacer the celebrated physician ; 
and he continued to be a warm friend to the cultivation of 
that noble language, as we shall find by his letter on the 
subject to the university of Oxford. 

AVolsey also, was at this time bursar of IMagdalen col- 
lege, and, as well as Colet and Pace, probably enjoyed the 

* Edit. Roper. f Jortin. t Erasmus, ep. 511. 

SIR T. MORE, 17 

intimacy of More and Erasmus. He was as yet too young 
and humble to liave materially manifested the character of 
the cardinal ; and it is probable that More in early life con- 
ceived too favourable an opinion of Wolsey, which we know 
that his friend Erasmus certainly had done. 

At the age of eighteen INIore is said to have written some 1498. 
of his epigrams, and to have continued to utter, in the 
manner we have already seen, many reflections on the va- 
nity of this life, not commonly made at his age. By way 
of exercise he translated the Tyrannicida of Lucian into 
Latin, Avhich he called \\\s first fruit of the Greek languao-e. 
He also wrote a declamation in answer to this piece, with 
such force of argument, saith his partial great-grandson, 
that it seemeth not to give place to Lucian either in inven- 
tion or eloquence. 

From the university, which, accordmg to the same writer, i45§. 
he must have quitted in 14.99, he removed to New-inn to 
study law ; where, saith Roper, he very rsell prospered for 
his time, and Avas soon afterward admitted of LincolnVinn. 
At this age his father allowed him so little money that he 
could not dress with decency, and exacted from him a most 
particular account of his expences. Yet this conduct was 
apjilauded by More in his riper years, as having preserved 
him from idleness, gaming, bad company, and vice in ge- 

Having been reader at Furnival's-inn, by Roper's ac- 
Vox. L D 

18 MEMoms or 

count, above three years, ]\Iore must have obtained that 
1-500. situation about I.jOO. For some time he also read a i)ublic 
lecture on S'. Austin de civitate Dei, in the church of S«. 
Lawrence in the Old Jewry; ivhcrcunto there resorted, saith 
his son-in-law, Dr. Groci/n an excellent cunning man, and 
all the chief learned of the city of London. We also learn 
from Erasmus that More had a numerous auditory at this 
lecture, and that neither priests nor old men were ashamed 
or repented of having derived sacred wisdom from the young 

1503. The death of Elizabeth, queen to Henry VII, in 1503, 
afforded More another occasion for the exercise of his ju- 
venile muse. The following curious specimen of the poetry 
and language of that age, is extracted from his English 

• SI rueful Hamcntattou written by Mr. Thomas jNIore in his 
youth, of the death of queen Elizabeth, mother to king 
Henry VIII, Avife to king Henry VII, and eldest daughter 
to kino- Edward IV ; which queen Elizabeth died in child- 
bed, in February in the year of our Lord 1503, and in the 
1^* year of the reign of king Henry VII. 

* Epist. to Hutten. 

SIR T. MORE. ]fi 

O ! je that put your truat and confidence 
In worldly joy and frail prosperity, 

That so live here as ye should never hence. 
Remember death and look here upon me ; 
Ensample I think there may no better be. 

i'^ourself wot well that in this realm was I 

Your queen but late, and lo now here I lie 

Was I not born of old worthy lineage, 

Was not my mother queen, my father king, 

Was I not a king's fare in marriage, 

Had I not plenty of every pleasant thing ? 
Merciful God, this is a strange reckoning ; 

Riches, honour, wealth, and ancestry, 

Ilath me forsaken, and lo now here I lie. 

If worship might have kept me, I had not gone. 
If wit might have me saved, I needed not fear, 

If money might have holpe, I lacked none, 

But O ! good God, what vaileth all this gear ? 
When Death is come thy mighty messenger, 

Obey we must, thr-rp is no rptTiBdy, 

]\Ie hath he summoned, and lo now here I lie. 

Yet was I late promised otherwise, 

This year to live in wealth and delice ; 

Lo whereto cometh thy blandishing promise, 
O ! false astrology and devinatrice, 
Of God's secrets making thyself so wise ; 

How true is for this year thy prophecy, 

The year yet lastetb, and lo now here I lie- 

D 2 


O brittle wealth, aye full of bitterness, 

Thj single pleasure doubled is with pain ; 

Account my sorrow first and my distress 
In sundrywise, and reckon thereagain 
The joy that I have had, and I dare saync, 

For all my honour, endured yet have I 

More woe than wealth, and lo now here I lie. 

AVhere are our castles now, where are our tewers ? 

Goodly Richmond soon art thou gone from me ; 
At Westminster, that costly work of yours, 

Mine own dear lord, now shall I never see. 

Almighty God vouchsafe to grant that ye 
For you and your children well may edify ! 
My palace builded is, and lo now here I lie- 

Adieu mine own dear spouse, my worthy lord, 
The faithful love that did us both combine, 

In marriage and peaceable concord 

Into your handes here I dean resign, 

To be bestowed upon your children and mine. 

Erst were you father, and now must you supply 

The mother's part also, for lo now here I lie. 

Farewell my daugtitcr, Lady Margaret, 

God wot full oR it grieved hath my mind. 

That you should go where we should seldom meet, 
Now am I gone and have left you behind. 
O mortal folk that we be, very blind ! 

That we least fear, full oft it is most nigh, 

From you depart I first, and lo now here I lie. 

SIR T. MORE. 21 

Farewell Madam, my lord's worthy mother, 

Comfort your son and be you of good cheer, 

Take all a worth, for it will be none other. 

Farewell my daughter Catharine, late the fare 
To prince Arthur, mine own child so dear. 

It booteth not for me to weep or cry, 

Pray for my soul, for lo now here I lie. 

Adieu Lord Henry, my loving son adieu, 

Our Lord increase your honour and estate. 

Adieu my daughter Mary, bright of hue, 

God make you virtuous, wise and fortunate. 
Adieu sweet heart, my little daughter Kate, 

Thou shalt, sweet babe, such is thy destiny, 

Thy mother never know, for lo now here I lie. 

Lady Cicyly, Anne, and Catharine, 

Farewell my well-beloved sisters three. 

! Lady Bridget, other sister mine, 

Lo here the end of worldly vanity ! 

Now well are ye that earthly folly flee, 
And heavenly thinges love and magnify. 
Farewell and pray for me, for lo now here I lie. 

Adieu my lords, adieu my ladies all, 

Adieu my faithful servants every chone. 

Adieu my commons, whom I never shall 
See in this world ; wherefore to the alone 
Immortal God, verily three and one, 

1 me commend ; thy infinite mercy 
Shew to thy servant, for lo now here I lie.' 


Tiic religion which then reigned in oui counli7 hud al- 
ready made a very powerful impression on the mind of 
More, and he discovered about his present age of twenty - 
three, some inchiuition for the monastic state. lie lived 
four years near the Charter-house, and without a vow fre- 
quented thiiiy the spiritual exercises of the Carthusians. 
Once he inclined to become a Franciscan friar, and is said 
to have been deterred from his purpose only by observing 
that the siricfncss formerly prevalent in this country had 
been considerably abated. After this he had an intention 
of becoming a priest in association with his faithful com- 
panion \\ illiam Lilly ; but God, exclaims his great-grand- 
son, had allotted him to another estate— not to live in so- 
litude, but to be a pattern to the married in bringing-up 
their children, in loving their wives, and devoting every en- 
deavour to the good of their country ; yet excelling withal 
in piety, charity, liumility, obedience, and chastity. 

ij06. In 1506, Erasmus Avas in England and dedicated the Ty- 
rannicida of Lucian, as well as a declamation of his own 
in answer to it, to Richard Whitford, chaplain to bishop 
Fox. llie high opinion he had already formed of More, 
whose declamation on the same subject hath been before 
noticed, "we fmd thus strongly expressed in that dedication. 
— Latine declamare capi, idque impuhore Thoma Moro, cujus 
itti sets tanta est J'acmidia, ut nihil non possit persuadere vel 
hosti ; tanta autem Jiominem caritate compkctor, ut etiam si 
saltare me, rest-imque ductaiejubeat, si7n non gravatim oh- 

sni T. MOIIE. 23 

temperaturus. — iSeque enbn arhltror, niai inc vehemcns in il- 
ium falllt amor, unquam natuvam fuixisse ingenium hoc una 
prccsentius, proinptiua, oculatiiis, argutius, breviterquc dotibus 
omnigenis absolutius. Accedit lingua ingenio par, turn inon/m 
mira festivitas, salis plurimum sed candidi duntaxat, ut nihil 
in CO desideres quod ad absolutwn pertineat patronum. 

PVom the same sreat scholar we leani that More cou](i 
not shake-off" his inclination for marriage, and he therefore 
preferred being a chaste husband to an impure priest.* He 
held in view at this time, it is said, as a pattern of life, 
the virtuous and learned Johannes Picus of Mirandula, 
whose life, letters, and precepts he translated into English, 
and published them, f For his ghostly-father, adds his 
great-grandson, he chose Colet, Dean of S«. Pauls ; Avhose 
celebrated foundation of S'. Paul's school More compares 
in one of his letters to the horse of Troy, from which many, 
issued to subvert and overthrow ignorance and barbarity. 

Stapleton hath preserved a letter from More to Colet, 
which confirms the respect in which he held the dean, and 
is a good picture of the state of his own mind at this time. 
It is here translated. 


' As I was w'alking lately in Westminster-hall, and musing 
upon other people's affairs, I encountered your boy. When 
I first saw him I rejoiced, for he was alway a favourite of 

* Epist. to Hutten. f Eng. Works. 


mine, but more especially because I thought he could not 
be here without you. But when I learnt from him that 
you were not returned, and would be absent for a long 
time, 1 cannot express to you from what joy into what 
sadness I was cast. 

' For what can be more grievous to me than to be depriv- 
ed of your sweet intercourse, whose most wise advice I was 
accustomed to enjoy, with whose most delightful familiarity 
to be recreated, by whose impressive discourses I have been 
roused to goodness, by whose life and example I have been 
amended, lastly, in whose very countenance and approba- 
tion I have found contentment. Having under such au- 
spices once felt strength and confidence, deprived of them 
I naturally feel as it were in the wide world and unsup- 
ported. And as lately, treading in your footsteps, I had 
escaped almost from the jaws of hell, now again like Eu- 
ridice, but by a contrary law (she, because Orpheus look- 
ed back upon her, I, because you look not back upon me), 
I relapse, I know not by what impulse or necessit3% into 
my former obscurity. 

' For what is there in this town to incite any one to a good 
life ? Or rather, Avhat is there which doth not, by a thou- 
sand devices and allurements, draw him from the arduous 
path of virtue, Avould his disposition guide him never so 
well in it ? "N^'hcrever you go what do you hear but, in one 
})lacc, the hum of feigned attachment or the honied poison 
of flattery, in another, fierce hatreds, quarrels, strife, and 

SIR T. MORE. 25 

litigation? Wherever you cast your eyes, what can you see 
but victualling-houses, fishmongers, butchers, cooks, pud- 
dingmakers, fishers or fowlers, who administer to the belly, 
the world, and its prince the devil. The very houses seize 
a good part of our light and suffer us not to behold the 
sky ; and it is the altitiule of our buildings, not the extent 
of our horizon, which boundeth our view. 

' From these causes I can the more readily foigive your 
loving to abide still in the country. There you have sifn- 
plicity, free from city craft. Wherever you turn your eye 
the face of earth cheereth your view, the grateful temper- 
ature of the air refresheth, the very aspect of heaven de- 
lighteth you. Nothing occurs there to your view save the 
bounteous gifts of uature and tokens of sacred innocence. 
Yet would I not have you so enamoured of these delights 
as not to return to us as soon as you can. If the city dis- 
please you, yet Stepney (of which you are bound to be al- 
so solicitous) may afford 3'ou comforts equal to those you 
now enjoy. And thence you can occasionally visit the city, 
in which you have so great opportunities for the exercise of 
your goodness, 

' For since those in the country are harmless in them- 
selves, or at least liable to less wickedness, any physician 
will answer there. But from the height and inveteracy of 
the disorder in town, any but the most skilful shall attempt 
the cure in vain. It is true, there sometimes come into 
the pulpit of S». Paul's those who promise a cure. But af- 

A' OL. I. E 


ler having appeared to preach with phiusibiliiy, tlicir hfe is 
so much at variance with their precepts, that tliey heighten 
more than they alleviate the complaint, Bi'l'iJ' themselves 
sickest of any, they cannot persuaile others tiiat they are 
fit persons to cure thern ; tbr io i)e l>andled by the diseased, 
fills the diseased only with C<!:,tempt and aversion. 

But if (as \\ic wise affirm) he is littest to restore health 
m whop*, the sick liath most confidence, wlio can doubt 
^^at no one is so fit to cure the whole town as yourself? By 
whom, with what satisfaction they sutt'er their wounds to 
be handled, what confidence and obedience they shew you, 
you have already sufficiently experienced ; and it is now 
farther manifested by the love of all toward you, and the 
certain incredible anxiety which prevails for your return. 
Come then at length my dear Colet, either for your Step- 
ney's sake, which bewaileth your absence day by day as 
doth a child its mother, or for your country's sake which 
you ought to regard as a parent ! Lastly, though this be 
the least motive for your return, come for my sake, who 
have devoted myself to you, and await your coming with 
impatience. Meanwhile I pass my time with Grocyn, 
Linacer, and Lilly. The first, as you know, is sole master 
of my life in your absence ; the second, the preceptor of 
my studies ; the thud, my dearest companion in all I un- 

* Farewell, and continue to love me as you have done/ 

SIR T. MORE. 27 

Colet in his turn admired his disciple, and would some- 
times say, England had but one wit, and that was young 
Thomas More.* 

In a letter to Jodocus Jonas, Erasmus hath made Colet's 
eulogium, and with it the panegyric of Vitriarius, a francis- 
can. The characters of these eminent men, drawn by so 
great a master, deserve perusal ; and if Erasmus hath not 
given the reins a little to his imagination and embellished 
his subject, it is no wonder that he so sincerely loved and 
admired them. They were excellent ecclesiastics, with a 
largeness of mind, a solidity of judgment, and a freedom 
of thought and speech, far beyond their contemporaries, 
very few excepted. In many things they bore no small re- 
semblance to Erasmus ijimself. f 

Colet it seems advised More to marry. ^ 

In the number of j\lore' friends was John Colte, Esq. of 
Newhall in Essex, a gentleman of good family, and who 
had frequently invited More to visit him. The invitation, 
it seems, was at last accepted, and it proved that Jvlr. Colte 
had three daughters whose honest conversation and virtuous 
education, if we believe Mr. Roper, or perhaps we may 
suggest some other attractions more current with youth, 
fixed his afiections in that family. On this occasion More 
gave a remarkable instance of that peculiarity of character 
which distinguished him through life. His natural predi- 

* More. f Jortin. J More. 

E 2 


lection was in favour of tlic second daughter ; yet when he 
considered, saith Roper, that it would he both great grief 
and some shame to the eldest, to see her younger sister pre- 
ferred hefore her in marriage, he then of a certain pity fram- 
ed his fancy to her, and soon after married her. 

It is to be wished that Mr. Roper had made use of al- 
most any other expression than pity, in this passage. It 
appears to be perfectly within the compass of More's very 
peculiarcharactcr, that feeling for the disappointment which 
the elder sister might experience in finding her younger 
sister preferred to her in marriage, he might, before he 
suftcred his heait to become too deeply engaged by the 
second, endeavour at least to appreciate with candour and 
aft'ection every excellence which he could discover in the 
elder. Upon such a closer view of the merit which she 
proved herself in the end to have possessed, it is possible 
that he may have seen sufficient reason to satisfy his inclin- 
ation of acting with what he in this case judged j;ro/?/7e/?/, 
though the occasion, it is true, Avas a singular one for the 
exercise of a lukewarm principle. 

Erasnuis informs us that she was a very young girl, who 
had never quitted her parents and sisters in the country. 
This, he adds, was the more agreeable to his friend, as he 
liad better prospect of forming her to his own manners ; 
and he even took much pains in her education.* 

' £pist. to Hut ten. 

SIR T. MORE. no 

As More lived four 3'ears among the Carthusians, we 
may date this marriage 1507, when he was twenty-seven 1507. 
years of age. By this wife Jane, who survived their union 
only about six years, he had issue, Margaret, Elizabeth, 
Cecilia, and John ; in virtue and learning, saith Mr. Roper, 
hrought-icp from their youth ; whom he would often exhort to 
take virtue and learning for their meat, and play for their 
sauce. Upon his marriage he appears to have taken a house 
in Bucklersbury, and to have renewed with assiduity his 
application to the law.* 

The year after More's marriage, Erasmus dedicated to isoa. 
him his celebrated Praise of iolly, on which occasion, as 
before to Whitford, the scholar highly compliments his 
friend. Bayle, and after him Jortin and others, appears to 
be riiistaken in dating this admired piece two years later' 
and in saying it was written under More's roof; as may be 
seen by the dedication itsclf.f 

Edward IV died in More's infancy ; the short reigns of 
Edward V and Richard III folloAved, and aftbrded him in 
more advanced years a subject for historical composition ; 
Henry VII had now filled the throne for twenty-three years, 
and his death approached. It requires no great sagacity 
to discover, that to keep the crown which singular good 
fortune had given him, and to accumulate riches, were the 
darling objects of this monarch's reign. The love of ac- 

'^ * Roper. 

t Jortin, Life Eras. 4'". i, 35. and ii, 169, contradicts himself. 


cumulation appears indeed to have been instinctive in liis 
character, and time discovered that thouiih Cardinal Mor- 
ton and Bray could not extinguish this propensity, they 
were not without their endeavours in tempering it. P^nip- 
son antl Dudley, their ibllowers, whose reputation had no 
better basis than their servility, on the contrary, not only 
seconded but inflamed this humour in Henry, and they led 
the king to those extremities, which clouded his death with 
remorse, and found sutHcient employment ior his successor 
in assuaging them. 

On wise considerations Henry had resolved to unite him- 
sJelf closely with Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile and Ar- 
ragon, and with the house of Burgundy against France, 
the constant and dangerous enemy of England. A match 
was therefore agreed to, between Arthur ])rince of Males 
and Catharine the infanta of Spain ; whose eldest sister be- 
ing married to Philip duke of Burgundy and earl of Flan- 
ders, a triple alliance was formed between England, Sjiain, 
and Burgimdy, against France. 'J'wo hundred thousand 
ducats, the largest portion given for many ages with any 
princess, made her no less acceptable to Henry VH. 

Five months, however, had only claj)scd since the mar- 
riage, when prince Arthur died ; and it proved, that his 
widow was not in a state of pregnancy. The reasons of 
state for preserving the alliance against France still existing, 
and Henry feeling no inclination to ye/////</ the jointure, it 
was proposed that Arthur's brother -Henry, now prince of 

S[R T. MORE. ?1 

Welles and about tuelve years of age, should be contraet- 
ed to Catharine. The good Warham, archbishop of Can- 
terbury, acknowledged to the king that he thought the step 
ndther honourable nor pleasing in the sight of God. l>ut 
Fox, bishop of ^\^inchestcr, urged it, and the pope's dis- 
pensation surmounted every objection. 

It was no great wonder that the pope readily granted 
what was so much for the interest of the papacy, though 
some cardinals and divines opposed it. Julius II was an 
enemy to Lewis XII, and wished to strengthen alliances 
against him. Moreover, his consent on this occasion obliged, 
as he thought, the succeeding kings of England to main- 
tain the papal authority, since from it they derived their 
title to the crown. But it is remarkable that by a mio-htier 
decree than that of any temporal power, this act of Julius, 
instead of strengthening, occasioned the very extirpation of 
the papal dominion in this country. 

Upon this bull Henry and Catharine were contracted. 
But there is reason to believe, that though he had approv- 
ed it as a politician, Henry VII repented of this step be- 
fore he died. 

More incurred Henry VII.'s displeasure, who wanted to 
ruin him. He had been elected a burgess (by what means 
doth not appear) and sat in tlie parliament in Avhich Henry, 
yielding to his ruling passion, demanded a subsidy for the 
marriage of his eldest daughter to the king of Scotland, 


rather in a view to his own cmohinient than to the rcpay- 
nuMit of tlic dower whieh he had given with his ehiUl. On 
this oceasion More gave an admirable instance of his in- 
tegrity, patriotism, and courage, by the strength with which 
he ariiued against the demand at that early aoe, undis- 
mayed by the servile senate which surrounded him. Mr. 
Tyler, a gentleman of the pri\'3'-chamber who was present 
at tiie debate, hastened to inform the king that a beard- 
less boy had frustrated his purpose, and Henry, incensed by 
such an opposition to the darling propensity of his mind, 
determined to lose no opportunity of revenge. The means 
he employed were worthy of his avarice and rapacity, and 
unworthy of his princely station. More's poverty exclud- 
ing him from a reasonable prospect of gratiticaiion, the king 
devised a groundless quarrel with his father, and Sir John 
More was imprisoned in the Tower until he had paid a fine 
of one hundred pounds. 

More, shortly after this, met bishop Fox, a privy-coun- 
sellor, who called him aside, and, pretending great kind- 
ness, promised that if More would be guided by liis advice 
he should soon be restored to the king's favour. But it af- 
terward appeared, that the prelate's design was to inveigle 
More into a confession of his offence, that a punishment 
might be inflicted upon him with the semblance of justice. 
More had, however, the prudence or good fortune to, escape 
this snare. AMiitford, the bishop's chaplain, was More's 
intimate friend. On consulting him, he advised More by 
no means to follow Fox's counsel, for my Lord, to sei've the 


king's turn, will not stick to agree to his own father'' s death. 
More, of course, returned not to the bishop.* 

His abode in England was indeed rendered so unplea- 
sant to him by the king's anger, that he meditated a voyage 
abroad, a design which was prevented by the death of 
Henry VII in 1509.f In the interval he lived in retirement, 
yet, as might be expected from a mind like More's, not 
without profiting of the occasion by the cultivation of his 
intellectual talents. We are told that he studied the French 
language, history, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and 
music, and became a practical proficient on the violin, ij: 
His chief assistant in these pursuits was, probably, his ex- 
traordinary memory, to which, he once expresscth a wish 
that his wit and learning were equal. § 

In his English woi'ks are preserved four more things which 
Mayster Thomas More wrote in his youth for his pastime, and 
which therefore belong to the present chapter. The first 
of them hath been supposed to "iiave suggested to the cele- 
brated Cowper the idea of his popular tale John Gilpin ; 
but Mr. Hayley, the poet's biographer, disavo\\s the claim, 
on grounds which perhaps many readers will deem suffi- 
ciently satisfactory. This piece proves, what an attentive 
reader will, in perusing our old writers, frequently remark, 
that the familiar and colloquial part of our language, be- 
ing disused among those classes which had no ambition of 

* Roper and More. f Roper. t More. J Epist. pref. to Utopia. 

Vol. I. F 


idhieuient or atYectatioii ol' novel Ly, Imtii suffered very little 
cliaiiiro.* Our lan^uaoe was then in a great degree formed 
and settled ; and it appears from Ben Jonsoii that More's 
poems, as well as his prose, were considered by his con- 
temporaries as models of elegance and purity in language, 
though in general, like all the compositions of his age, they 
are censurable on the score of languor and difi'useness. The 
three last of these pieces recommend themselves more pe- 
culiarly to our notice on the present occasion, from the 
picture they afford us of the early impressions of More's 

' 9 mcrrg 3iC0t, hon' a Serjeant uould learn to play the Friar 

Wise men .ilway 

Adirm and say, 
Tbat best 'tis for a man, 


For to apply * 
'J'Lc business that he can ; 

And in no wise 
To enterprise 

Another faculty. 

For he that will 
And can no skill 

Is never like to theeh.t 

• Johneon. ■}■ Thrive. 

SIR T. MORE. 35 

He that hath left 
The hosier's craft, 

And falleth to making shone. 
The smith that shall 
To painting fall, 

His thrift is well-nigh done. 

A black draper 
With white paper, 

To go to writing school, 
An old butler 
Become a cutler, 

I ween shall prove a fool. 

And an old trot, 
That can God wot 

Nothing but kiss the cup, 
With her physic 
Will keep one sick 

Till she have soused him up. 

A man of law, 
That never saw 

The ways to buy and sell, 
Weening to rise 
By merchandise, 

1 pray God speed him well. 

A merchant eke 
That will go seek, 

By all the means he may, 
To fall in suit 
Till he dispute 

His money clean away j 

r 2 


Pleading the law 

For every straw, 
Shall prove a thrifty man 

With 'bate and strife, 

But by my life 
I cannot tell you whan. 

When an hatter 

Will go smatter 
la philosophy, 

Or a jjedlar 

W^crc a meddler 
In theology. 

All that ensue 
Such craftes new, 

They drive so far a cast, 
That evermore 
They do therefore 

Beshrew themselves at last. 

This thing was tried 

And verified 
Here by a serjeant late 

That thriftly was, 

Ere he could pass, 
Rapped about the pate, 

While that he would 
See how he could 

Tn God's name play the frere ;. 
Now if you will 
Know how it fell 

Take heed and vou shall hear. 

SIR T. MORE. 37 

It happed so 

Not long ago 
A thrifty man there died, 

An hundred pound 

Of nobles round. 
That had he laid aside. 

His son he would 

Should have this gold 
For to begin withal ; 

But to suffice 

This child, well thrice 
That money was too small. 

Yet ere this day 
I have heard say, 

That many a man certes 

Hath with good cast 
Been rich at last 

That hath begun with less. 

But this young man 

So well began 
His money to employ, 

That certainly 

His policy. 
To see it was a joy. 

For lest some blast 

Might overcast 
His ship, or by mischance, 

Men with some wUe 

Might him beguile 
And 'minisU his substance, 


For to put out 

All manner doubt, 
He made a good purvey 

For ev'ry whit 

By bis own wit 
And took auotber way. 

First fair and well 
Thereof much deal 

He digg'd it iu a pot, 

But then he thought 
That way was nought 

And there he left it not. 

So was be fain 

From thence again 
To put it in a cup ; 

And by and by 

He supped it fairly-up. 

In his own breast 

He thought it best 
His money to inclose, 

Then wist lie well 

Whatever fell 
He could it never lose. 

He borrow 'd then 

Of otlur men 
INIoney and merchandi^, 

Kcver paid it, 

I'p he laid it 
In like manner wise. 

SIR T. MORE. 39 

Yet on tlie gear 
That Ue would wear 

He rought not what he spent, 
So it were nice, 
As for the price 

Could him not miscontent. 

With lusty sport 
And with resort 

Of joly com[)any 

In mirtli and play 
Full many a day 

He lived merrily. 

And men bad sworn 
Some man is born 

To have a lucky hour, 
And so was he, 
For such degree 

He gat and such honour. 

That without doubt 
When he went out, 

A Serjeant well and fair 
Was ready strait 
On him to wait 

As soon as on the may'r; 

But he doubtless 
Of his meekness 

Hated such pomp and pride 
And would not go 
Companied so 

But drew lumsell aside. 


To Saint Cath'rine 

Strait as a line 
He gat him at a tide, 

For devotion 

Or promotion 
There would he needs abide. 

There spent he fast 

Till all was past 
And to him came there many 

To ask their debt 

But none could get 
The value of a penny. 

With visage stout 

He bare it out 
Even unto the hard hedge, 

A month or twain. 

Till he was fain 
To lay his gown to pledge. 

Then was he there 

In greater fear 
Than ere that he came thither, 

And would as fain 

Depart again 
But that he wist not whither 

Then after this 

To a friend of his 
He went, and there abode, 

Whereas he lay 

So sick alway 
He might not come abroadc 

SIR T. MORE. 4gt 

It happed than 

A merchant maa 
That he ow'd money to 

Of an officer 

Then 'gan enquire 
What him was best to do; 

And he ans'red 

" Be not afraid 
Take an action therefore 

I you behest, 

I shall him 'rest 
And then care for no more." 

I fear quoth he 

It will not be 
For he will not come out. 

The sergeant said 

" Be not afraid 
It shall be brought about. 

In many a game 

Like to the same 
Have I been well in ure, 

And for your sake 

Let me be bake 
But if I do this cure." 

Thus part they both, 

And forth then go'th 
Apace this officer 

And tor a day 

AU his array 
He changed with a frere. 

Vol. I. G 


So was he ilight 
That no man might 

Him for a frerc deny 

I le tlopp'd and dook'd 
He spake and look'd 

So religiously. 

Yet in a glass 

Ere he would pass 
He toted and he peer'd 

His heart for pride 

Lept in his side 
To see how well he frer'd. 

Then forth apace 
Unto the place 
He goelh in God's name 
• To do this deed ; 

But now take heed, 
For here begins the game. 

He drew him nigh 

And softily 
Straight at the door he knocL'd 

And a damsel 

That heard him well 
There came and it unlock'd. 

The friar said 

God speed fair maid 
Here lotlgcth such a man 

It is told me ; 

Well Sir, quoth she, 
And if he do what than ? 

SIR T. MORE. 43 

Quoth he, mistress 

No barm doubtless, 
It 'longeth for our order 

To hurt no man, 

But as we can 
Every wight to farther. 

With him truly 
Fain speak would I. 

Sir, quoth she, by my fai 
He is so sick 
You be not like 

To speak with him to-day. 

Quoth he, fair mai 

Yet I you pray 
This much at my de>ire 

Vouchsafe to do, 

As go him to 
And say an Austin friar 

Would with him speak 
And matters break 

For his avail certain. 

Quoth she, I will 
Stand you here still 

Till I come down again. 

Up did she go 
And told him so 

As she was bid to say. 
He mistrusting 
No manner thing 

Said, maiden go thy way 

G 2 


And fetcli liim liithcr 
That we together 

May talk. Adown she go'th. 
Up she him brought 
No Lami slie thought 

But it made some folk wroth. 

This ofBccr 
This feigned frcre 

When he was come aloft 
He dopped than 
And greet this man 

Religiously and ofl. 

And he again 
Riffht fflad and fain 

Took him there by the hand, 
Tlie friar then said 
You be dism.iy'd 

With trouble I understand. 

Indeed, quoth he, 

It hath wiih aie 
Been better than it is. 

Sir, quoth the frerc. 

Be of good cheer, 
Yet shall it after this. 

For Christ his sake 

Look that you take 
No thought within your breast : 

God may turn all. 

And so he shall 
I trust, unto the best. 

SIR T. MORE. 45 

But I would now 

Commune with you, 
la counsel if you please, 

Or elles not, 

Of matters that 
Shall set your heart at ease. 

Down went the maid, 
The merchant said 

Now say-on gentle frere, 
Of this tiding 
That you me bring 

I long full sore to hear. 

When there was none 

But they alone 
The friar with evil grace 

Said, I 'rest thee, 

Come on with me, 
And out he took his mace> 

Thou shalt obey 
Come on thy way 

I have thee in my clutch 

Thou go'st not hence 
For all the pence 

The may'r hath m his pouch. 

This merchant there, 
For wrath and fear 

He waxing-well nigh wood, 
Said, whoreson thief, 
With a mischief, 

Who hath taught thee thy good 

46 MEMOIRS 01' 

And with liis fist 

Upon the list 
lie gave him such a blow 

That backward down 

Abnost in swoon 
The friar did overthrow. 

Yet was this man 

Well feardcr than 
Lest he the fri'r bad slain 

Till with good raps 

And licavy claps 
He duwdc him up again. 

The friar took heart 

And up he start 
A nd well lie laid about 

And so tlierc go'th 

Between tlicm both 
Many a lusty clout. 

They rent and tear 
Each others hair 

Vnd clave together fast 
Till with lugging 
And with tugging 

They fell down both at last. 

Then on the ground 

Togctlier round 
With many a sad stroke 

They roll and rumble, 

They turn and tumble 
As pigs do in a poke. 

SIR T. MORE. 47 

So long above 

They heave and shove 
Together, that at last 

The maid and wife 

To break the strife 
Hied thetn upward fast. 

And v?hen they spy 
The captains lie 

Both weltring on the place 
The friar's hood 
They pull'd agood 

Adown about his face. 

While he was blind 
The wench behind 

Lent him laid on the floor 
Many a joll 
About the noul 

With a great battledoor. 

The wife came yet 
And with her feet 

She holpe to keep him down 
And with her rock 
Many a knock 

She gave him on the crown. 

They laid his mace 
About his face 

That he was wood for pain 
The friar frap 
Gat many a swap 

Till he was full nigh slain. 


Up they bim lift 

And witli ill thrift 
Headlong along tlie stair 

Down Ihcy liim threw 

And said adieu, 
Commatd us to the mat/r. 

The friar arose 

But I suppose 
Amazed was his head 

He shook his ears 

And from great fears 
lie thought iiim well afled. 

Quoth he, now lost 

Is all this cost 
Wc be never the near, 

111 must he thceh 

That caused me 
To make myself a frcrc. 

Now masters all 
Here now I shall 

End there as I began, 
In anywise 
1 would advise 

And counsel ev'ry man, 

His own craft use 

All new refuse 
And lightly let them gone 

Play not the frere ; 

Now make good cheei 
And welcome ev'ry chone. 


' €8c tt)Oct»0 of i?ortune to the People. 

Mi.VE liigh estate, power, and authority 

If ye ne know, eascarch and ye shall spy 
That riches, worship, wealth, and di<,'nity 

Joy, rest, and peace, and all things finally 

That any pleasure or profit may come by 
To man his confort, aid, and sustenance, 
Is all at my devise and ordinance. 

AYithout my favour there is nothing won, 

Many a matter have I brought at last 
To good conclude that fondly wixs begun, 

And many a purpose, bounden sure and fast 

With wise provision, I have overcast. 
Without good hap there may no wit suffice, 
Better 'tis to be fortunate than wise ! 

And therefore have there some men been ere this 

My deadly foes, and written many a book 
To my dispraise. And other cause there n'is 

But for me list not friendly on them look. 

Thus like the fox they fare, that once forsook 
The pleasant grapes, and 'gan for to defy them 
Because he lept and yet could not come by them. 

But let them write, their labour is in vain ; 

For well ye wot, mirth, honour, and riches 
Much better is than penury and pain. 

The needy wretch that ling'reth in distress 

W ithout my help, is ever comfortless, 
A very burden, odious and loath 
To all the world, and eke to himself both. 

Vol. I. H 


Uut he tliat by my favour may asccnil 

To njiglity pow'r and excellent degree, 

A commonweal to govern and defend, 

O 1 in how bless'd condition slandeth he, 
Himself in honour au<l felicily, 

And over that, may farther and cncreasc 

A region whole in joyful rebt and peace. 

Now in this point there is no more to say, 

Each man hath of himself the governance ; 

Let every wii^ht then follow his own way. 

And he that out of poverty and luLschancc 
List for to live, and will himself eniiance 

In wealth and riches, come-forth and wail on mc ; 

And he that will be a beggar, let him be.' 

' Cgomnss i^orc to them who trust in Fortune. 

Tiiou (hat art proud of honour, shape, or kin. 

That hcapest-up this wretched world its treasure, 

Thy fingers shriii'd with gold, thy tawny skin 

AV'ith fresh apparel garnish'd out of measure, 
And weenest to have Fortune at thy pleasure ; 

Cast-up thine eye, and look how slipp'ry chance 

Illudeth her men with change and variance. 

Sometime she look'th as lovely, fair, and bright 
As goodly Venus, mother of Cupid, 

She beckcth and she smil'lh on every wight ; 
But this chear feigned may not long abide, 
There com'th a cloud, and farewell all our pride. 

Like any serpent she beginn'lh to swell 

And look'th as fierce as any fury of hellt 

SIR T. MORE. 51 

Yet for all that, we brittle men are fain, 
So wretched is our nature and so blind. 

As soon as fortune list to laugh again 

With fair countenance and deceitful mind, 
To crouch and kneel and gape after the wind ; 

Not one or twain, but thousami> in a rout. 

Like swarming bees, come flickermg her about. 

Then as a bait she bringeth forth her ware, 

Silver and gold, rich pearl and precious stone, 

On which the amazed people gaze and stare 
And gape therefore as dogs do for a bone. 
Fortune at thenr laugheth, and in her throne 

Amid her treasure and wavering riches 

Proudly she heaveth as lady and empress. 

Fast by her side doth weary Labour stand 
Pale Fear also, and sorrow all bewept, 

Disdain and. Hatred on that other hand 

Eke restless watch, from sleep with travail kept. 
His eyes drowsj and looking as he slept. 

Before her standeth Danger and Envy, 

Flatt'ry, Deceit, Mischief, and Tyranny. 

About her cometh all the world to beg ; 

He asketh land ; and He to pass would bring 
This toy and that, and all not worth an egg ; 

He would in love prosper above all thing ; 

He kneeleth down and would b • made a king ; 
He forcetli not so he may money have, 
Tho' all the world account him for a knave. 

H 2 


Lo thus ye sec, divers heads divers wits, 
Fortune, alone as divers as they all, 

Unstable, here and there among tiiem ilits, 

And at a venture down her gifts tliey fall ; 
Catch whoso rnnj', she throweth great and small, 

Not to all men as comcth sun or dew, 

But for the most part, all among a few. 

And yet, her brittle gifts long may not last. 

He that she gave them looketli proud and high, 
She whirl'th about and pluck'th away as fast 

And giv'th them to another by and by. 

And thus from man to man continually 
She iis'th to give and take, and slily toss 
One man to winning of another's loss. 

And when siic robbclh one, down go'th his pride. 

He wecp'th and wail'th and curscth her lull sore. 

But he who receiv'th it on t'other side 

Is glad and bless'th her oftentimes therefore. 
But in a while, when she lov'th him no more. 

She glideth from him, and her gifts they too, 

And he her curseth as other fools do. 

Alas ! the foolish people cannot cease', 

Nor 'void her train till the}' the harm do feel. 

About her alway busily they press ; 

But Lord ! how hcdolh think himself full well 
That may set once hts haiKi upon her wheel. 

Tie holdcth fast ; but upward as he sty'th. 

She whipp'th her wheel about, and there he li'th 

SIR T. MORE. 53 

Thus fell Julius from his miglity power, 

Thus fell Darius, the worthy king of Perse, 

Thus fell Alexander, the great conqueror. 

Thus many more than I may well rehearse. 
Thus double Fortune, when she list reverse 

Her slipp'ry favour from them that in her trust. 

She fli'th her way and li'th them in the dust. 

She suddenly enhanceth them aloft 

And suddenly mischieveth all the flock, 

The head that late lay easily and full toft 

Instead of pillows li'th after on the block. 
And yet, alas the most cruel proud mock 

The dainty moutli that ladies kissed have 

She bringeth in the case to kiss a knave. 

In changing of her course the change shcw'th this, 

Up start'th a knave and down there fall'th a knight, 

The beggar rich and the rich man poor is, 
Hatred is turned to love, love to dcspight ; 
This is her sport, thus proveth she her might. 

Great boast she niak'th if one be by her pow'r 

Wealthy and wretched both within an hour. 

Poverty, that of her gifts will nothing take, 
With merry cheer looketh ujjon the press 

And seeth how Fortune's household go'th to wreck. 
Fast by her standeth the wise Socrates, 
Aristippus, Pytliagoras, and many a leash 

Of old philosophers. And eke against the son 

Baketh him poor Diogenes in his tun. 


With her is Bias, whose country lack 'J defence 
And whilom of their foes stood so in doubt 

That each man hastily 'gan to carry thence 

And asked him, why he nought carried out ? 
/ bear, quoth he, uU nmc zcilh vie about. 

Wisdom he meant, not Fortune's brittle tecs, 

For nought he counted his which he might lecsc. 

lleraclitus eke list fellowship to keep 

With glad poverty. Democritus also. 

Of which the first can nevtT cease but weep 
To see how thick the bUnded people go, 
With labour great, to purcliase cure and woe. 

That other laugh'th to see the loolisli apes 

How earnestly they walk about their jap«s.* 

Of this poor sect it is common usage, 

Only to take that nature may sustain, 

Banishing clean all other surplusage 

They be content and of nothing complain. 
No niggard eke is of his good so fhin 

But they more pleasure have a thousand fold 

The secret draughls of nature to bi'hold. 

Set Fortune's servants by them an ye wull. 
That one is free, that other ever thrall, 

That one content, that other never full. 
That one in surety, t'other like to fall. 
Who list to advise them both, perceive he shall 

As great diff'rence between them, as we sec 

Betwixt wretchedness and felicity. 

• J«t«. 

SIR T. MORE. 53 

Now have I shew'd ye botb, choose which ye list, 
Stately Fortune or humble poverty ; 

That is to say, now li'th it in your fist 
To take here bondage or free liberty. 
But in this point an ye do after me, 

Draw ye to Fortune, labour her to please 

f that ye think yourselves too well at ease. 

And first upon thee lovely shall she smile 

And friendly on thee cast her wandering eyes, 

Embrace thee in her arms, and for a while 
Put thee and keep thee in fool's paradise ; 
And forthwith all, whatso thou list devise, 

She will thee grant it liberally perhaps, 

But for all that, beware of afterclaps. 

Reckon you never of her favour sure. 

You may in clouds as eas'ly trace an hare, 

Or in dry land cause fishes to endure, 

And make the burning fire his heat to spare, 
And all this world in compass to forfare. 

As her to make by craft or engine stable 

That of her nature is ever variable. 

Serve her day and night, as reverently 
Upon thy knees as any servant may, 

And in conclusion, that thou shall win thereby 
Shall not be worth thy service I dare say. 
And look yet, what she giveth thee to-day 

With labour won, she shall haply to-morrow 

Pluck it again out of thine hand wth sorrow. 


WLereforc, if tliou in surety list to stand, 

Take Pov'rty's part and let proud Fortune go, 

Receive no tiling that cometh from licr hand. 
Love manner and virtue, they be only tlio' 
Which double Fortune may not take thee fro. 

Then mayst tliou IjoUlly defy lier turning chance, 

Siie can tliee neither kinder nor advance. 

But an thou wilt needs meddle with her treasure. 
Trust not therein and spend it lib'rally, 

Bear thcc not proud, nor take not out of m'.'asurc, 
Build not thine house on high up in tlie sky. 
IS'one fallctli far but lie who climbeth high. 

Remember nature sent thee hither bare, 

The gifts of Fortune, count them borrowed ware.' 

' '2DSoma0 i^cit to than nho seek Fortune. 

Wiioso delighteth to proven and assay 

Of wavering Fortune the uncertain lot, 

If that the answer please you not alway 

Blame you not me, for I command you not 
Fortune to trust ; and ckc full well you wot 

I have of her no bridle in my fist, 

She runneth loose and turneth where she list. 

The rolling dice in which your luck doth stand. 

With whose unhappy chance you be so wroth. 

You know 3 ourself came never in my hand. 
Lo in this pond be fish and frogs they both, 
Cast in your net, but be you lief or loath, 

Hold you content as Fortune list assign 

For it is your own fishing and not mioe. 

SIR T. MORE. 9f 

And though in one chance Fortune you offend, 
Grudge not thereat but bear a merry face, 

In many another she shall it amend. 

There is no man so far out of her grace 
But lie sometime hath comfort and solace ; 

Nor none again so farforth in her favour 

That is full satisfied with her behaviour. 

Fortune is stately, solemn, proud, and high, 
And riches giv'th to have ser\'ice therefore. 

The needy beggar catch'th an halfpenny, 

Some man a thousand pounds, some less, some more. 
But for all that she keepeth ever in store 

From ev'ry man some parcel of his will, 

That he may pray therefore and ser^e her still. 

Some man hath good but children hath he none, 

Some man hath both but he can get none healthy 

Some hath all three, but up to honour's throne 
Can be not creep by no manner of stealth. 
To some she sendeth children, riches, wealth, 

Honour, worship, and rev'rence all his life. 

But yet she pincheth him with a shrew 'd wife. 

Then forasmuch as it is Fortune's guise 

To grant no man all things that he will aksj 

But, as herself list order and devise. 

Doth ev'ry man his part divide and tax ; 
I counsel ye, each one truss-up your packs 

And take nothing at all, or be content 

With such reward as Fortune hath you sent. 

Vol. I. 


AU things ■which in tliis book that you bhiill read. 
Do as jou list, there shall no man you bind 

Them to believe as surely as your creed, 
But notwilhslandiiig certcs in my mind 
J durst well swear, s true you shall them find 

In every point cacli answer by and by 

As are the judgments of astronomy.' 

SIR T. MORE. 59 


Accession of Henry VIII. . . . Consummation of his marriage with 
Catharine of Arragon. . . . More re-appears in the world and writes 
verses on the coronation. . . . Anecdote of Emson and Dudley. . . . 
Morels attachment to Erasmus. . . . He is made one of the under- 
sheriffs. . . . His high estimation as a lawyer. . . . He replies to Dor- 
pins. . . . His second wife. . . . Henry desires to engage him in his ser- 
vice. . . . He accompanies Tonstall to Flanders. . . . His letter to Eras- 
mus on his embassy. . . . Busleiden and ^gidius. . . . Mare's letter to 

Jf'arham. . . . He pleads a cause for the t)ope. . . . I nighted, &c 

His account of his first advancement. . . Henry's earlier court. . . . 
The king's intimacy with More. . . . Luther. . . . Erasmus persecuted. 
.... More expected the reformation. . . . Edtvard Lee attacks Eras- 
mus. . . . More defends him. . . . Brixius attacks More. . . . Erasmus 
defends him. . . . More's letter to the university of Oxford. , , . He is 
made speaker of the commons. . . . His speech on the occasion. . . . 
Anecdotes of JFolsey and More. . . . JVolsey wishes to send him to 
Spain. . . . Progress of Luther. . . . Henry writes against him, and 
More is suspected. . . . Luther's reply and Boss' rejoinder. . . . Eras- 
mus writes against Luther. . . . More is exhorted to zvrite. . . . His 
character in the Ciceronianus. . . . He is made chancellor of the 
duchy of Lancaster. . . . Anecdote of the king and More. . . . More 
is sent on foreign embassies. . . . His sicccess at Cambray. . . . His loss 
iyfre, and letter to his wife, 

I 2 


r EW princes have ascended a throne with the more de- 
cided satisfaction of their subjects than did Henry VIII. 
In the place of a monarch sinking deeper in jealousy, avarice, 
and severity, as he advanced in years, men beheld a prince ^ 
young, handsome, accomplished, wealthy, and prodigal ; 
who, in the eye of experience, gave flattering promises of 
future conduct, much more in that of popular cnthusiasmi 
The nobility, humbled by the policy of his father, crowded 
to gain his favour and to share his profusion. Tlie pleasures 
and gallantry of the age were assembled at his court. His 
father, to remove him from the knowledge of business, had 
engaged him in literature. The proficiency he made was 
no bad prognostic of his parts, and lie became a lover of 
learning and the learned. His vehemence and ardour 
(wliich in time degenerated into tyranny) were interpreted 
as the failings of youth. The contending titles of York 
and Lancaster were united in him, and that impartiahty of 
administration was expected which had long been unknown 
in our country. In a word, the English rejoiced in the 
death of Henry VII, and had great expectations from his 
son ; but alas ! he lived to disappoint these hopes and prov- 
ed a tyrant. 

One of the first measures which engaged the new king's 
attention, was the celebration of his marriage with the 
widow of his brother. Lord Herbert informs us that the 
king's graver counsellors told him, the same reasons which 
induced Henry VII to the match with Spain, first in tlie 

SIR T. MORE. 61 

person of Arthur, and after his premature death in young 
Henry's own person, were still in force ; that his preten- 
sions on France made an alliance with that power unne- 
cessary, while they rendered the united opposition of Spain 
desirable ; and that there were natural causes of good neigh- 
bourhood sufficient to maintain him in friendship with 
Maximilian the emperor. 

Catharine, moreover, declared herself to be still a virgin, 
and had given many proofs of her virtuous and amiable 
character. Ferdinand, her father, had given ample com- 
mission to his ambassador here, and the lady's presence 
would save time as well as expence ; but should she depart 
the kingdom, a large dower must be yearly remitted iiom 
the country. That scriptural authority might not be want- 
ing, this passage was quoted ; If brethren dwell together 
and one of them die and have no child, the wife of the dead 
shall not marry without imto a stranger, her husband's brother 
shall go in unto her and take her to him to wife, and perform 
the duty of an husband's brother unto her : and it shall be 
that the frst-born which she beareth shall succeed in the name 
of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of 
Israel.* The dispensation formerly obtained from the pope 
was also urged ; and in fine, about six weeks, after his fa- 
ther's death, the consummation of Henry's marriage took 
place with Catharine of Arragon, his brother's widow. 

More, now about thirty years of age, re-appeared in the 

* Deuter. xxv. 5. 


general reanimation at the commencement of the reign in 
which he was destined to be so great and so unfortunate ; 
and probabl}' to greater advantage than before, from the 
cultivation of his character and his acfjuircments in soli- 
tude under the royal displeasure. His classical pen Avas 
called-forth on the coronation, and the poem * he wrote in 
Latin is an elegant compliment to Henry and his queen, 
and a severe satire on the reign of his rapacious father. 
The dedication concludes with the cmphatical words vale 
princeps illustriasime, et, qui nevus ac varus rcgum titulus 
est, amatissiine. 

When Emson and Dudley, those vile ministers of Henry 
VII.'s rapacity, were leading to execution, in consequence 
of their attainder by the young king in his infant populari- 
ty, though at the expence of his father's fame. More, \vith 
his usual archness, though without his accustomed huma- 
nit}', is said to have interrogated Dudley, Iiaie not I doixe 
better than you ? Dudley is said to have congratulated More 
in reply, that he did not ask forgiveness of Henry VII as 
he had been advised to do.f 

The character of the good Erasmus, though it was as 
yet but little celebrated, had, it seems, its due influence 
on the discernment of More. The acquaintance they had 
formed at college, cherished by the similarity of their minds 
and their studies, appears by this time to have lipencd in- 
to a strong attachment, and they now corresponded by let- 

• Vol. ii. of this. t More. 

. SIR T. .MORE. 63 

tcr whenever they were apart from each other. When tlic 
great scholar agaui visited Enghmd in 1510, he is saiil, on ijio. 
his arrival, to have lodged with More. Dr. Jortin and 
others are, however, mistaken in ascribing to this meeting 
the composition of the celebrated Praise of Folly by Eras- 
mus in a week, to divert himself and his friend, as we have 
akeady seen in the preceding chapter. 

Soon after Henry's accession ]\Iore was appointed one of 
the under-sheriffs of the city of London, by which office 
and his profession he was heard to say that he now gained, 
without scruple of conscience, above ^400 per annum. There 
was at this time no cause of importance in which he was- 
not retained on one side or the other; and ybr his learning, 
wisdom, knozvledge, ^and experience, men had such estimation, 
continues Mr. Koper, that bejore he came into the service of 
king Henry VIII, at the suit and instance of the English 
merchants, he was, by the king's consent, made twice ambas- 
sador in certain great causes betwixt them and the Jiierchants 
of the Stilyard. Erasmus, in his letter to Hutten, also gives 
us a high character of the request in which the talents of 
his friend were held, as well as of his integrity and modera- 
tion. Thus More, persevered for the present with assiduity 
in his profession, and he was twice appointed reader at 1512. 
Lincolns-inn, viz. in the third and sixth years of Henry ^^^^' 

But his heart was too disinterested, and his mind too ex- 

* Roper and Dugdale. 


pansivc, to confine him rigidly to tlie duties of his pro- 
fession. Thus Ave find him in the hitter of these years en- 
listing in the cause of fiiendship and replying to Dorpius, 
a divine of Louvain, who had written against the Praise of 
Folly. While others contented themselves with reviling the 
good scholar over their cups or in private, Dorpius was the 
first who wrote against Erasmus. He condemned the Mo- 
ria? Encomium, as a satirical work in which the author ri- 
diculed all orders and professions ; not excepting even the 
ecclesiastics, who have commonly pretended that their 
function should serve them for a passport. He moreover 
endeavoured to dissuade Erasmus from imdertaking the 
New Testament, but graciously permitted him to publish 
S*. Jerom. 

Knowing his youth and ductility, and that he had been 
inveigled by others into this attack, Erasmus replied with 
his usual mildness. He clcared-up some points to Dorpius, 
continued in the true charity of his heart to live on good 
terms with him, and even lamented his death. His friend 
More also replied to Dorpius in a long and laboured epistle, 
which is preserved among his Latin works. In this letter 
More proves the necessity of studying the Greek language, 
of which Dorpius had spoken with contempt ; and he ex- 
poses in civil language the ignorance, impertinence, and 
malevolence of the attack upon Erasmus. Whatever mo- 
tive influenced Dorpius, he was highly culpable for treat- 
ing of subjects which he understood not, and for being the 
first in such an attack. A nuilignant mind and a mean 


spirit must have prompted him to condemn writings which 
he could not imitate, and to endeavour to make the man 
odious who was affording the pubhc important instruc- 

More's first wife, as we have already remarked, survived 
their union only about six years ; and two or three years 
after her death,f which brings us to our present period, he 
mai'ried Mrs. Alice Middleton, a widow with one daugh- 
ter, by whom he had no children. More used to say of 
this lady, that she was nee bella, iiec puella, and the great- 
grandson's account of her and of her mairiage with More 
are curious. 

* This (he writes) he did not of any concupiscence, for 
he would often affirm that chastity is more hardly kept in 
wedlock than in a single hfe ; but because she might have 
care of his children, which were very young, from whom 
of necessity he must be very often absent. She was of 
good years, of no good favour nor complexion, nor very 
rich ; by disposition very near and worldly. I have heard 
it reported, he wooed her for a friend of his, not once think- 
ing to have her himself But she wisely answering him, 
that he might speed if he would speak in his own behalf, tell- 
ing liis friend what she had said unto him, with his good 
liking he married her, and did that Avhich otherwise he 
would perhaps never have thought to have done. And in- 
deed her favour, as I think, could not have bewitched, or 

* Jortin. + More. 

Vol. I. K 


scarce ever moved any man to love her. But yet she prov- 
ed a kind and careful mother-in-law to his children, as he 
was alway a most loving father unto them ; and not only to 
his own, but to her daughter also, who was married to Mr. 
Alin^ton and mother to Sir Giles Alington.' 

The same writer informs us that More taught this wife 
music with a view to render her less worldly. 

"NVoIsey was already high in dignity ; and More's fame 
having by this time attracted Henry's attention, the king 
desired the cardinal to engage him also in his service. 
Wolsey, we are told, acted honestly at least on this occa- 
sion, and endeavoured to accomplish the king's wish. He 
represented to More the importance of his services, and as- 
sured him (for perhaps then he understood not Henry's 
character) that royal bounty could not but repay them with 
liberality. More was not, however, to be prevailed upon, 
for the present at least, to exchange the independent sta- 
tion which his ability as a lawyer now gave him, for that 
of a courtier ; and the excuses he made were for this time 
admitted.* No man ever strove harder, says Erasmus, to 
gain admittance at court, than More strove to keep out of 

He accepted, hmvever, a diplomatic appointment in as- 
1516. sociation with Cuthbert Tonslall in the year 1516; and pro- 
ceeded with him to Flanders, to meet the ambassadors of 

• Roper and More. -f Epist. to Hutten. 


Charles prince of CastUe, on affairs, as he informs * us, of 
no small importance. Yet even this service appears to have 
been protracted longer than was perfectly agreeable to More, 
though it produced him, on his return, the offer of a pen- 
sion. To this offer, perhaps, the king's desire to retain 
More in his service may have materially contributed. In a 
letter written to Erasmus soon after his return, and pre- 
served in his Latin works, More gives a very agreeable ac- 
count of this expedition. 

' Our embass}' (he writes) for this too, as all else which 
concerneth me, interests you, hath proceeded happily 
enough, save that the affair was drawn into greater length 
than I either expected or wished. For, on leaving home, 
I looked for an absence of hardly two months, but con- 
sumed above six on that embassy. Yet a conclusion suf- 
ficiently agreeable was the result of this long delay. But 
seeing the business on which I went brought to an end, and 
other matters arising one out of the other which appeared 
the initials of still greater delay (a circumstance never want- 
ing on diplomatic occasions), I wrote to the cardinal for 
leave to return, and used, among other friends, the assist- 
ance of Pace chiefly on the occasion, who had not 3^et left 
England. On my way home I met him unexpectedly at 
Gravehnes, and in such a hurry that he could hardly stop to 
greet me. 

' This office of ambassador never pleased me. Neithei* 

• Utopia. 

K 2 


is it likely to suit us laymen so well as it doth you eccle- 
siastics, who either have no wives and children at home, or 
find them Avherever you come. We, when we have been a 
Jittie while absent, long to be home again on their accounts. 
And again, when an ecclesiastic sets-out, he may take his 
whole family whither he will, and maintain them abroad at 
the expence of kings, wlicn he must have done it at home 
at his own. But when I am absent I have two families to 
support, one at home and one abroad. The provision made 
by the king for those I took with me was sufficiently li- 
beral ; yet no regard was had to tliose who must be left at 
home, none of whom, you will conceive, I could desire to 
feel any want during my absence, as you know what a hus- 
band, father, and master I wish to be. 

* Lastly, princes can repay such as you without any 
cost to themselves ; but with regard to us, this is not so 
easy. Nevertheless, on my return, a pension would have 
, been given me by the king (an offer, in point of honour or 
profit, not to be despised), but I have hitherto dechned it, 
and think I shall continue to do so. For if I accept it, my 
present situation in this city, which I prefer to a higher 
one, must either be relinquished, or, which I should be 
very much against, be held with some dissatisfaction to our 
citizens ; with whom and their prince, should any question 
arise as to their privileges (which sometimes occurs), they 
would think me less true to their cause because I was in- 
debted to the king for my pension. 

SIR T. MORE. ay 

' For the rest, some occurrences in my embassy gave me 
peculiar delight. And first, my long and constant inter- 
course with Tonstall ; than whom no man is better inform- 
ed in every elegant attainment, no man more correct in his 
conduct or agreeable in his conversation. Then I formed a 
friendship with Busleiden, whose fortune gave him to treat 
me magnificently, and his goodness, courteously. The ele- 
gance of his house, his excellent domestic economy, the 
monuments of antiquity he possesses (in which you know 
I take peculiar delight), lastly, his exquisite library, and 
his still more eloquent breast, completely astonished me. — 
But in the whole of my peregrination, nothing was more 
agreeable to me than the company of your friend ^gidius 
of Antwerp ; a man so learned, merry, modest, and tmly 
friendly, that may I perish if I would not freely give a 
good part of my property only to enjoy constantly his in- 

Hieronymus Buslidius, here alluded to, an ecclesiastic 
of the Low countries, died very soon after this period, and 
bequeathed his property to the academy of Louvain, to 
erect a college where Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, should be 
taught. This noble institution gave offence to the illiterate 
divines who harboured there, while Erasmus, a living water 
in the desert, extolled Busleiden's liberality. They are 
vexed, he writes, that three tongues should be in request, 
and had rather remain as they are, double-tongued ; indeed 
there is no teaching a new language to such old parrots,* 

• Epirt. 338. 

7a jMEMOiRs or 

To iEgidius of Antwerp, also commended in this letter, 
More addressed his Utopia, which celebrated piece was 
written about this time. In the prefixed epistle the reader 
Avill find an agreeable picture of More's present avocations; 
but, he complains, they left him no leisure for literary pur- 

The good Warham, choosing rather to retire from public 
employment than to maintain an unequal contest with 
AVolsey, resigned his office of chancellor. Stapleton hath 
preserved a letter written to him by More on this occasion, 
and accompanied by a copy of Utopia, which is interest- 
ing on account of the subsequent similar resignation of 
More. It is here translated. 

Thomas More to Archbishop Wai^iam. 

* I have ever, good father, reckoned yours a happy lot. 
] 'irst, while you discharged with so much celebrity the of- 
fice of chancellor, and now still hapj)ier, when, having re- 
signed that office, you have betaken yourself to a desirable 
repose in which you may live to God and yourself- a re- 
pose, I say, not only more agreeable than were those oc- 
cupations, but in my opinion more honourable than were 
all your honours. Many, and sometimes the worst of men, 
may be in office ; you held the highest, and one which car- 
ries great authority in the execution, and which is obnoxi- 
ous to sufficient calumny on the resignation of it. To lay 
it down then, as you did, of your own accord (the permis- 

SIR T. MORE. 7i 

sion for which I know cost you much trouble), none but a 
modest man would have wished, none but an innocent one 
have dared. 

' You have many to appreciate and admire your con- 
duct, and myself am not among the least strenuous on this 
occasion. Indeed, I know not, whether most to applaud 
your modesty in voluntarily relinquishing so high and splen- 
did an office, your greatness in dispising dignity, or the in- 
nocence of your administration in being fearless of the con- 
sequence. Your conduct was certainly most exxellent and 
wise ; nor can I express how strongly I congratulate this 
your singular felicity, how much I rejoice for you, when I 
see you, good father, remote from secular employment, re- 
ceding from forensic tumult, enjoying the honourable fame, 
the rare glory, of your well administered and Avell-resigned 
office ; and, joyful in the consciousness of your past life, 
calmly devoting your remaining time to letters and philo- 

' My own comparative misery makes me think daily 
more and more of this your happy condition. For, although 
I have no occupations worth the naming, yet, as weakness 
is easily overcome, I ara so busy, that I have neither time 
to pay my respects to you in person, nor to apologize by 
letter for my omission. Thus I have hardly time to write 
you this, with a view of recommending to your favour this 
ill-finished httle book, which a too partial friend of Ant- 
werp, precipitated as it was rather than polished, thought 


worthy of the press and printed it •without my knowledge. 
Although I think it unworthy of your dignity, experience, 
and learning, yet, satisfied as I am of your kindness and 
candour toward every endeavour, and having individually 
felt your goodness, I have the boldness to send it you ; and 
hope, tiiough the work prove of little worth, its author 
shall find some favour with you. 

' Farewell most worthy prelate.' 

An incident not long afterward occurred, which drove 
More into the distinction he had so studiously avoided. A 
valuable ship of the pope's coming into Southampton, and 
being claimed as prize by Henry Vlil, the legate applied 
to the king, that his master might have counsel assigned 
him learned in the laws of this kingdom, to defend his 
cause ; and, as his majesty was himself a great civilian, it 
was requested that the cause might be tried publicly, and 
in his presence. More had the honour of being chosen, as 
the propcrest lawyer of the time, to be counsel for the 
pope, and to report the arguments in Latin to the legate, 
A hearing of the cause was appointed before the chancellor 
and the judges in the star-chamber. Our advocate plead- 
ed with so much learning and success, that not only was 
the ship restored to the pope, but himself, adds Mr. Roper, 
among all the hearers, for his upright and commendable de- 
meanour therein so greatly renowned, that for no entreaty 
would the king from henceforth he induced any longer to for- 
bear his service. 

SJR T. MORE. 73 

Having no better place at that time vacant, Henry at 
first made More Master of the Requests, and a month af- 
terward knighted him and made him a privy-counsellor. 
The precise date of these honours is not very certain, but 
we may safely limit them to the year 1517* Weston, 1517. 
treasurer of the exchequer, dying some time afterward, the 
king without sollicitation gave that place also to More.-f- 

Of his first advancement the knight afterward wrote this 
curious account in a letter to bishop Fisher, which is here 
translated from Stapleton. 

' I came most unwillingly to court, as every one know- 
eth, and as the king himself sometimes in joke tells me. 
And to this day I seem to sit as awkwardly there, as one 
who never rode before sitteth in a saddle. But our prince, 
though I am far from being in his especial favour, is so af- 
fable and kind to all, that every one, let him be ever so 
diffident, findeth some reason or other for imagining he 
loveth him ; just as our London matrons persuade them_ 
selves that our Lady's image smileth upon them as they 
pray before it. I am neither so fortunate as in reality to 
perceive such favourable tokens, nor of so sanguine a tem- 
perament as even to flatter myself that I do so ; yet such 
are his majesty's virtue and learning, and such his daily in- 
creasing industry, that seeing him the more and more ad- 
vance in good and truly royal accomplishments, I the less 
and less feel this court life to hang heavily upon me.' 

* Lord Herbert. f Roper. 

Vol. L L 


Nor was More singular in this his favourable opinion of 
Henry's earlier court, although royal favour may be sup- 
posed to have had some influence upon his judgment. The 
fragrance of her honourable fame, saith Erasmus, smellcth 
sweetly everywhere ; for she hath a king possessing every 
worthy, princely attribute, a queen his fellow, and a num- 
ber of worthy, learned, sedate, and discreet subjects.* 

Wc arc now therefore to behold More in a very dilferent 
situation from those in which Ave lately viewed him. We 
find him taken from his practice as a lawyer, and from the 
condition of a private gentleman, to become an officer of 
state and the favourite of a king — taken we may truly say, 
for he certainly acquiesced in the royal favour, rather in 
obedience to the king than to gratify any passion of his 
own for power and grandeur. His simplicit}' of heart pro- 
babh' gave him a disrelish for the courts of princes and their 
intrigues, and it is possible that he may have already sur- 
mised from Henry's character the j)robable inconstancy of 
his favour. Under every advancement, we shall find that 
he still preserved the plainness and integrity which distin- 
tinguishcd him in private life. A superior station served 
but for a time to call-forth his superior talents ; and in the 
end it displayed his superiority of character under the se- 
veiest of human trials. 

In the first years of his promotion, ^ve are told Henry 
was in the habit of frequently sending for Sir Thomas and 

* Epist. to Guilford. 

SIR T. MORE, 75 

confening with him in private in his closet on astronomy, 
geometry, divinity, and other subjects, as well as on af- 
fairs of state. They sometimes even ascended together in 
the night to the top of the house to observe, as well as 
converse of, the heavenly bodies ; * a trait worthy of the 
early and more innocent 3'ears of Henry VIII, and a strik- 
ing contrast to his subsequent character. The kino- holds 
More in such intimacy, saith Erasmus, that he never suf- 
fereth him to leave him — if he wanteth him in serious mat- 
ters, he hath not a better adviser ; if to relax his mind, he 
knoweth not a more festive companion.f 

The company of Sir Thomas was indeed, it seems, so 
agreeable, that the king and queen frequently sent for him 
in the evening about this time, to he merry with them, saith 
Mr. Roper. This went so far, that the affectionate prin- 
ciple which the knight retained in his advancement, I must 
chat ziith }nij wife and prattle with my children, % was ia 
danger of usurpation. His conversation became so enter- 
taining to the king and queen, that he could not once in a 
month obtain permission to spend an evening with his fa- 
mily ; nor could he be absent from the court two days in 
succession without being called for. More, however, just- 
ly considered the claims of his family in this particular as 
superior to those of his sovereign. Restraining, therefore, 
the natural vivacity of his disposition, he caused his con- 
versation in the roj'al presence to become by degrees less 

* Roper. f Epist. to Hutten. % Utopia. 

L 2 


and less attractive ; and tlie consequence M'as, that his time 
became more his own.* 

Leo X was at this time everywhere pubUshing his imlul- 
gciiccs, to raise money under pretence, of waging war with 
the Turks say some, of bui ding S'. Peter's church say others. 
The dominicans being employed by him in Germany on 
this occasion, the augustinians, who pretended that the of- 
fice belonged to them, were irritated. Martin Luther, pro- 
fessor of divinity at AVittenberg, and an augustinian, among 
others, examined this doctrine of indulgences. Finding it, 
as he thought, full of error, and being gifted by nature with 
an independence and intrepidity of character which would 
not allow him on such an occasion to remain a silent or in- 
active spectator, he publicly refuted it in 1517. 

From this time, Erasmus began to be most maliciously 
persecuted by the ecclesiastics. They loudly complained 
that his bold and free censures of the monks, their pious 
grimaces and superstitious devotions, had opened the way 
for Luther. Erasmus, they said, laid the egg, and Luther 
hatched it. The religious disputes which opened the scene 
produced religious wars and cruel persecutions, a state of 
affairs sufficiently afflicting to More's mild and gentle friend, 
who often complained that his endeavours to reconcile the 
opposite parties, only drew upon him the resentment of 
both.-j' The minorite brethren, he said, deserved to be 

* Roper. t Jortin. 

SIR T. MORE. 77 

complimented as wits for their joke, but he laid. a hen's egg 
and Luther hatched a yery different bii'd.* 

With his strong attachment to the church of Rome, it -< 
seems from the following anecdote that Sir Tliomas expect- 
ed one day the success of the reformation in this country, 
and perhaps his knowledge of Henry's temper contributed 
to the surmise. Mr. Roper says, when he commended to 
More the happy estate of this realm, which had so catholic 
a prince that no heretic dared to shew his face, so virtuous 
and learned a clergy, so grave and sound a nobility, and 
so loving, obedient subjects, all in one faith — the knight 
replied, truth it is indeed son Roper, and even exceeded 
him in commendation ; and yet son Roper, he continued, 
J pray God that some of us, as high as we seem to sit upon 
the mountains, treading heretics under our feet like ants, live 
not the day that we would gladly he at league and composi- 
tion with them, to let them have their churches quietly to themr- 
selves, so that they would be contented to let us have ours 
quietly to ourselves. 

Edward Lee began also about this time to attack Eras- 
mus, and to stir-up the divines against him. He not only 
treated the good scholar as one of little erudition and no 
judgment, but as an heretic and an enemy to the church ;. 
and did all he could to run him down and ruin him. Eras- 
mus in return hath often said, the earth never produced an 
animal more vain, arrogant, scurrilous, ignorant, foolish, 

* Zpitt. 719- 


and malicious, tl)au Lee. Yet this man was advanced at 
court, lie was chaplain and ahnoner to Henry VIII, was 
afterward employed by the king on several embassies, and 
lastly, was made archbishop of York. 

IVIore, though a constant friend to Lee, was much dis- 
1^19- pleased at his quarrelling with Erasmus. In 1519, and 
subsequent years, he wrote three letters to Lee, which arc 
reprintetl by Dr. Jortin in the appendix to his life of Eras- 
mus. They inform us that he would have dissuaded Lee 
from publishing his censures of his friend, that he was very 
sorry when they were published, that lie thought him far 
inferior to Erasmus as well in knowledge and ability as in 
credit and interest with the learned world, and that he 
judged this exploit would draw infamy and contempt upon 
the writer, and even an odium upon the English. Thus 
our Lee (adds the Doctor), who, had he kept the fool with- 
in doors, might have passed for a tolerable divine, chose 
rather to purchase renown, such as it was, by heading the 
clamorous half-learned censurers of Erasmus and of all re- 
formations. Among those indeed he might hope to make 
a figure though not among more eminent persons, and it is 
no wonder that an ambitious man should choose rather to 
be the leader of a paltry sect, than to be lost among scholars 
of the second or third class. 

Lee was ever an enemy to the reformation, and is ex- 
tolled, as might have been expected, by Wood, Stapleton, 

SIR T. MORE. 79 

More's great-grandson, and others. Bishop Burnet gives us 
a juster account of him. 

Soon after this vindication of his friend, Sir Thomas was 
himself attacked. Brixius, or, as his contemporary Rabe- 
lais calls him, de Brie, had written a poem in 1513, intituled 
Chordigera, describing an action of that year between the 
English ship Regent and the French ship la Cordeliere. As 
he had given a false account of the engagement, and in- 
sulted and calumniated the English, More wrote several 
epigrams in derision of the poem. Brixius, picqued at the 
aftront, revenged himself by an elegy which he intituled 
Antimoi-us, in which he severely censured all the faults 
which he thought he had found in the poems of More ; but 
this piece was not published till 1520, and then at Paris in 
compliance with the wishes of the author s friends. *^ 

Erasmus, in a very good letter to Brixius, civil]}^ though 
freely, insinuated to him that he was a very child compared 
to More, and launched out as usual in praise of his English 
friend.f- More at first despised the poem, and wrote to 
Erasmus that, to prove to the world the contempt in wliich 
he held it, he had a design of reprinting it himself. J He, 
however, afterward wrote an answer to it ; Avhich was no 
sooner puljlished, than he received a letter from Erasmus, 
wisely exhorting him to pass the matter in silent contempt, 
for that alone was the conduct which the attack deserved. 
Sir Thomas soon saw his error, and, following his friend's 

■* La Moiinoye, Menagi^n iii. 115 > + Epist. 511. % Latin works. - 


80 MEMOIRS or 

advice, he immediately recalled the publication, so that 
very few copies of it escaped into the world.* Yet Eras- 
mus, although he was capable of giving his friend this good 
advice, had certainly himself too nmch of this very sensi- 
lii-lity when attacked by malicious and inconsiderable ad- 
^ ' versaries. Such characters require a friend to advise them, 
^. •■ leave these men to themselves, they cannot live in their own 

jp»* writings, why should they live in yours ? and it is, after all, 

no such terrible matter to be misrepresented as a dunce, 
when time and truth must put folly to tlight.-f- 

To this period also. Wood ascribes the proof which More 
gave of his zeal for learning, by his letter to the university 
of Oxford on the study of Greek. i\fter Grocyn came 
thither to teach Greek, a serious opposition was manifest- 
ed to his progress. A faction of the students, denominat- 
ing themselves Trojans, and who had their Priam, Hector, 
Paris, (Sec. declared themselves enemies to what they called 
the new learning, and one of them had the impudence to 
attack the Greeks trom the university pulpit. More wrote 
a well-timed letter ;{: in Latin to the universit3> and observ- 
ed that even Cambridge, ever her inferior as a seminary, 
promoted the study of Greek ; that her own chancellor 
Warham, Cardinal Wolsey, nay the king himself, wished to 
encourage it; and that therefore it was probable these ri- 
diculous Trojans, the enemies of useful learning, would in 
the end have the old proverb applied to themselves, sero sa- 
inunt Phryges. 

* More. t See Jortin. J Printed at Oxford in 4'°. l633. 

sm T. MORE. 81 

In the parliament holden at Blackfriars in the year 1523, 1^23. 
Sir Thomas More was chosen speaker. He was very desir- 
ous of being excused from this office, and addressed the 
king to that effect in a speecli which hath not been pre- 
served.* His remonstrance, however, proving ineffectual, 
he was obliged to comply, and he made the following speech 
upon the occasion, preserved by Mr. Roper, which is here 
presented to the reader as a specimen of the eloquence of 
the knight, and of the manner of the age. 

Sir Thomas Mare's Speech on being appointed Speaker. 

' Since I perceive, most redoubted sovereign, that it 
standeth not with your pleasure to reform this election and 
cause it to be changed, but have by the mouth of the most 
reverend father in God my lord legate, your highness' chan- 
cellor, thereunto given your royal assent, and have of your 
benignity' determined, far above thai I may bear, to enable 
me, and for this office to repute me, meet ; rather than you 
should seem unto your commons that they had made an 
unfit choice, I am therefore and alway shall be ready, obe- 
diently to conform myself to the accomplishment of your 
highness' pleasure and commandment. 

' In most humble Avise beseeching your most noble ma- 
jesty, that I may, with your grace's favour, before 1 far- 
ther enter thereinto, make my humble petition for two low- 

* Roper. 

Vol. I. M 


Iv petitions; the one piiviitely concerning myself, the other 
the whole asscniljjy of your conunon-housc. 

' For myself, gracious sovereign, that if it mishap me, 
in anything hereafter that is on liie behalf of your com- 
xnons in your high presence to be declared, to mistake my 
message, and, in tiie lack of good utterance, by my mis- 
rehearsal to pervert or impair their prudent instructions, it 
may then like your most noble m^ijest}', of your aliundant 
grace, with the eye of your wonted pity, to pardon my 
simpleness; giving me leave to repair again to the common- 
house, and there to confer with them, and to take their sub- 
stantial advice, what things and in whatwise I shall on their 
behalf utter and speak before your noble grace, to the in- 
tent their prudent devices and affairs be not, by my simple- 
ness and folly, hindered or impaired. Which thing, if it 
should so happen, as it were like to mishappen me if your 
gracious benignity relieved not my oversight, it could not 
fail to be, during my life, a perpetual grudge and heaviness 
to my heart. The help and remedy whereof, in manner 
afore remembered, is, my gracious sovereign, my first low- 
ly suit and humble petition unto your noble grace. 

' My other humble request, most excellent prince, is 
this. Forsomuch as there be of your connnons, here by 
your high commandment assembled for your parliament, a 
great number, who are, after your accustomed manner, ap- 
pointed in the common-house to entreat and advise of the 
common ati'airs among tliemselves apart; and albeit, most 

SIR T. MORE. 83 

dear leige lord, that according to your prudent advice by 
your honourable writs everywhere declared, there hath been 
as due diligence used in sending-up to your highness' court 
of parliament the most discreet persons out of every quar- 
ter that men could esteem most meet thereunto, whereby 
it is not to be doubted that there is a very substantial as- 
sembly of right wise, meet, and politic persons ; yet, most 
virtuous prince, since among so many wise men neither is 
every man wise alike, nor among so many alike well witty 
every man alike well spoken, and it often happeneth that 
likewise as much folly is uttered with painted polished 
speech, so many boisterous and rude in language see deep 
indeed and give right substantial counsel ; and since also 
in matters of great importance the mind is so often occu- 
pied in the matter that a man rather studieth what to say 
than how, by reason whereof the wisest man and best 
spoken in a whole country fortuneth, while his mind is fer- 
vent in the matter, somewhat to speak in suchwise, as he 
would afterward wish to have been uttered otherwise, and 
yet no worse will had he when he spake it, than he had 
when he would so gladly change it ; therefore, most graci- 
ous sovereign, considering that in your high court of par- 
liament is nothing treated but matter of weight and im- 
portance concerning your realm and your royal estate, it 
could not fail to let and put to silence from the givino- of 
their advice and counsel many of 3'our discreet commons, 
to ihe great hinderance of the common affairs, except that 
exeiy one of your commons were utterly discharged of all 

M 2 


cloubts and fears, how anything that it should happen them 
to speak should happen of your higlniess to be taken. ' 

' And in this point, though your well-known an<l proved 
benignity putteth every man in good hope, yet such is thtr 
weight of the matter, such is the reverend dread that the 
timorous hearts of 3'our natural subjects conceive toward- 
your iiigh nrajesty, our most redoubted king and undoubted 
sovereign, that they cannot in this point fmd themselves stv- 
tisHed, exce])t your gracious bounty, therein declared, put 
away the scruple of their timorous minds, and animate and 
encourage them and put them out of doubt. 

' It may therefore, like your most abundant grace, our 
most benign and godly king, to give all your conmions 
here assembled your most gracious licence and pardon, free- 
ly, without doubt of your dreadful displeasure, every man 
to discharge his conscience, and boldly, in every thing in- 
cident among us, to declare his advice. And, whatsoever 
liaj)i)en any man to say, that it may like your majesty of 
your inestimable goodness to take all in good part; inter- 
preting every man's words, how cunningly soever they be 
couched, to proceed yet of good zeal toward the profit of 
your realm and honour of your royal person ; the prosper- 
ous estate and preservation whereof, most excellent sove- 
reign, is the thing which we all, your loving subjects, ac- 
cordmg to our most bounden duty, of our natural allegi- 
ance, most highly desire and pray for.' 

SIR T. MORE. 85 

It is probable that tlie design of the knight in this speech 
was to remonstrate against the known haughtiness Avilh 
which Henry VIII treated his parhaments ; and, under co- 
Jour of the profoundest awe and veneration, to reprove the 
sovereign for his arbitrary restraint on debate. In this point 
of view, the speaker manifesteth more dexterity than at first 
sight may appear ; a compUance with his haughty humour' 
in this submissive language, being the only manner in which 
the king could be reproved or thwarted with a hope of suc- 

Of this parliament the following anecdote is related. Wol- 
sey, at this time in the zenith of his greatness, had express- 
ed his displeasure, that no sooner was anything said or 
done in the house of commons than it was blown abroad in 
every alehouse. When the large subsidy was afterward de- 
manded, the cardinal; fearing opposition fi'om tiie com- 
mons, determined to be present in their house at the time 
the motion should be made. A debate in consequence arose 
in that house, Avhether he should be received with a fbw of 
his lords only, or with the whole number. The majority of 
the house were of the former opinion ; but the speaker ob- 
served "\ntii his usual archness, forasmuch as my lord car- 
dinal lately laid to our charges the lightness of our tongues 
for things uttered out of this house, it shall not in my mind 
be amiss to receive him with all his pomp, with his maces, his 
pillarSf pollaxes, his crosses, his hat, and the great seal too ; 
H the intent that if he find the like fault with us hereafter, 

* Warner. 


we may he the bolder from ourselves to lay the blame, on those 
whom his grace bringeth hither with him. 

Wolsey was received accordingly, and spoke witli solem- 
nity on the necessity of the grant. The commons heard him 
to an end in silence, and then made no reply. lie address- 
ed himself to some of the members in particular, but re- 
ceived no answer, for they had resolved to communicate 
with him through their speaker only. At last he demanded 
an answer of the speaker, who, continues Kopcr, Jirst re- 
verently on his knees excusing the silence of the house, abash- 
ed at the presence of so noble a personage able to amaze the 
wisest in a realm, and afterward by many probable arguments 
proving that Jor them to make answer it was neit^ier expedient, 
nor agreeable with the ancient liberty of the house, in conclu- 
sion for himself shewed, that though they had all with their 
voices trusted him, yet except every one of them could put in^ 
to his head of their several wits, he alone in so weighty a mat- 
ter was unft to make his grace answer. 

ISIore seconded the subsidy from the beginning,* and this 
farce was played only upon the insolence of the cardinal ; 
who, adds Mr. Rojier, displeased with Sir Thomas More who 
had not in this parliament in all things satisfied his desire, 
suddenly arose and departed. 

A few days aftei-ward, Sir Thomas being in Wolsey's gal- 
lery at ^^ hitehall, the Utter said to him, would God you 

* Lord Herbert. 

SIR T. MORE. 87 

had been at Home Mr. More zi-hen I made ijoii speaker. Your 
grace not offended, so would I too, replied More ; I like this 
gallen/ mij lord, much better than your gallery at Hampton- 
court.^ This perhaps broke-ofi" a quarrel for the time, but 
the fact was, as Erasmus Justly observes in one of his let- 
ters, that the cardinal feared the knight more than he loved 

He gave a proof of this afterward, by his endeavour to 
persuade the king to send Sir Thomas to Spain as ambassa- 
dor. When Henry proposed it to More, the knight, pre- 
possessed, says Mr. Roper, that the king by sending him 
thither would send him to his grave, represented to his ma- 
jesty how unlikely he was to render him acceptable service 
there, yet was ready as in duty bound to fulfil his pleasure, 
though at the ex pence of his life. It is not our pleasure 
Mr. More to do you hurt, but to do you good would we be 
glad, replied IJenry, in the better language of his heart ; 
we will therefore for this purpose devise upon some other, and 
employ your service otherwise. 

In the meantime the intrepid Luther, jiursuing the career 
which, as we have seen, he had commenced in 1517, had 
detected the corruption of the court ol Rome, her obstinacy 
in adiiering to established error, and her inditJerence to 
truth, and tiom uttering some doubts as to the divine oiiginal 
of the papal authority, he at last shook the firmest founda- 
tions upon which the wealth and power of the church were 

• Roper. 


established. Henry \'lll, in addition to his rigorous acts 
lor preventing lutheranism tioni invading his rcahii, liad 
pul)hshcil a treatise against J.utiier wiiich obtained him 
Irom tlic pope the well-known title Defender of the faith. 
From More's supposed instrunjentality in this publication, 
wc shall iind that he was afterward accused as the cause of 
Henry putting a sword into the pope's hand to fight against 
himself. But the knight, we shall also find from his own 
letters, pleaded ?iot guilty to this accusation. He owns 
that, by the king's aj)iK)intn»ent, and by consent of the 
writers, he was a sorter-out and placer of the principal con- 
tents of the tract ; but it seems that More in fact advised 
Henry to insist less strenuously than he did on the pope's 
authority, from a foresight perhaps of the inconstancy of 
the monarch's character. 

Luther replied to Henr}^ and, Mith his usual bluntness, 
treated his majesty as a liar and a blasphemer. A rejoinder 
appeared in the year 1523, under the name A\ illiam Ross, 
which hath been generally ascribed to Sir ThonMS, and is 
reprinted as his production in his Latin works. The writer, 
whoever he ma^' have been, not only endeavoured to refute 
the arguments, but also followed in a blameablc degree the 
too prevailing custom of the time in aiming to ctjual the 
abuse, of his adversary. The soundest sense and the strong- 
est argument, Avhen thus disfigured by the rancour of party 
spirit, and even scurrility, not only lose the weight they 
naturally possess, but their tendency Avill generally be found 

. SIR T. MORE. 89 

to be, that they chiefly disgust the reader by the deformity 
of the picture with which they present him. 

The good Erasmus, not gifted by nature with the courage 
of a martyr, probably felt his worldly interests too much at 
stake to allow him to enter early and with freedom into 
these controversies. The importunate solicitations of the 
Roman party induced him, however, at last, to take the 
field by the publication of his dissertation on freewill. This 
piece was written with the good scholar's usutd moderation 
and candour ; yet it produced a reply from Luther in a se- 
vere strain of ridicule and invective, in his treatise De servo 
arbitrio. Erasmus was, with sufficient reason, much pro- 
voked at a treatment so rude and unmerited, which drew 
from him in rejoinder the first part of his Hyperaspistes. 

More's strong attachment to the church of Rome, ren- - 
dered him of course no tiiend to the great cause. We have 
a letter* of his to Erasmus in 1525, containing much spite 1525. 
and acrimony against the reformers, with pressing exhorta- 
tions to him to publish the last-mentioned work. And two 1597 
years later, we have bishop Tonstal's licence to him for read- 
ing heretical books, and an exhortation to him to imitate 
the great example of his king, by employing his leisure in 
answering them. That this advice was not in vain, we have 
pretty voluminous testimonies in IMore's published works ; 
but we will advert more fully to the subject of his writino-s 
in our last chapter. 

* Erasm. Epist. 334. 

Vol. I. N 


The celebrated Ciceronianus of Erasmus, one ot" the most 
ingenious and lively of his productions, in Avhich he agree- 
ably rallies certain Italian purists who scrupled to use any 
1523. word or phrase not to be Ibund in Cicero, came out in 1528. 
'J'he author's account of his friend More at this time is in- 

' Fateor ingeniuni fclicissimc natum, et quod nihil nou 
potuisset efticerc si totum his studiis vacare licuisset. Civ- 
terum, iilo pucro, vix tenuis odor literaturae mclioris denii- 
grarat in Angliam. Deindc parentum auctoritas ad leges 
ejus gentis discendas, quibus nihil illiteratius, adcgit ; mox 
in causis agendis exercitatus, hinc ad reipublicie numia vo- 
catus, vix succisivis horis respicere potuit ad eloquentiae 
stu(ha. Tandem in regiam pertractus, et regni regiorumque 
negotiorum undis immcrsus, magis aniare j)otcst studia (juam 
colere. Et tamen dicendi genus quod assecjuutus est, ma- 
gis vergit ad Isocraticam structuram ac dialecticam subtili- 
tatem, quam ad I'usum illud Ciceronianaj dictionis tlumcn j 
quanK|uani urbanitatc nihilo ]\I. TuUio inlierior est. Quo- 
niam autem adolescens tliu versatus est in poematibus scri- 
bendis, poetam agnoscas et in oratione prosa.' 

About this time died Sir Richard Wingfield, in whose 
room, without solicitation, the king made Sir Thomas More 
chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster.* The knight indeed 
grew into such favour Avith his majesty, that he was some- 
times honoured with a visit from the king at Chelsea, his 

*' Roper and Eratmui. 

SIR T. MORE. 91 

present residence, without previous notice. One day Henry 
came thither to dinner unexpectedly, and after dinner walk- 
ed in iVlore's garden for an hour, with one arm round the 
knight's neck. 

' As soon as his grace was gone, relates Mr. Roper, I re- 
joicing thereat, said to Sir Thomas Alore, how happy he 
was whom the king had so familiarly entertained as I never 
had seen him do to any other, except cardinal Wolsey, 
whom I saw his grace walk once with arm in arm. I thank 
our Lord, son, quoth he, IJind his grace my very good lord 
indeed, and I believe he doth as singularly favour me as any 
subject within this realm. Ilowbeit son. Roper, I may tell 
thee, I have no cause to be proud thereof ; for, if my head 
would win him a castle in France (for then was there war be- 
twixt us) it should not fail to go.' This anecdote proves that 
More already understood Henry's character well. 

While Sir Thomas was chancellor of the duchy, he Avas 
twice employed in foreign embassies in commission with 
Wolsey, once to the emperor Cliarles in Flanders, and again 
in France.* In 1529 he was appointed to accompany Cuth- I029. 
bert Tonstall to Cambray, where he assisted in tlie tieaty 
called after that place .-f* 

Here, Mr. Roper informs us, the knight worthily haiidled 
himself, procuring in our league far more benefits unto this 
realm, than at that time by the king or his council, zvas thought 

• Roper. t Lord Herbert. 



possible to be compassed. And it was for liis good services 
in lliis exj^cditiou, tlie son-in-law proceeds to inform us, 
that the king, when he afterwiird made Sir Tliomas chan- 
cellor, caused the duke of Norfolk to declare publicly, how 
much Endand was indebted to him. 

On his return from Can\bray, Sir Thomas rode directly 
to the king at the court at \\'oodstock. Here information 
was brought him that a part of his dwelling-house at Chel- 
sea, and all his barns, full of com, were ccjnsumed by fire, 
and that the barns of some of his near neighbours were de- 
stro3-ed also. The letter he wrote to his lady on this occa- 
sion is preserved in his English works, and with it we will 
conclude the present chapter. The former part of it is per- 
haps addressed to her covetous disposition, while the latter 
part affords a most worthy instance of his own benevo- 

Sir Thomas to Lady More. 

' Mistress Alice, in my most heartywise I recommend 
me to you. And whereas I am informed by my son Heron 
of the loss of our barns and our neighbours' also, with all 
the corn that was therein, albeit (saving God's pleasure) it 
is great pity of so much good corn lost, yet since it hath 
liked him to send us such a chance, we must and are bound- 
en, not only to be content, but also to be glad of his visit- 
ation. He sent us all that we have lost ; and since he hath 
by such a chance taken it away again, his pleasure be tul- 

SIR T. MORE. 93 

filled ! Let us never grudge thereat, but take it in good 
worth, and heartily thank him, as well for adversity as for 

' And peradventure we have more cause to thank liim 
for our loss than for our winning ; for his wisdom better 
seeth what is good for us than we do ourselves. Therefore 
I pray you be of good cheer, and take all the household 
with you to church, and there thank God, both for that 
he hath given us, and for that he hath taken from us, and 
for that he hath left us, which, if it please him, he can in- 
crease when he will ; and if it please him to leave us yet 
less, at his pleasure be it ! 

* I pray you to make some good ensearch what mj'^ poor 
neighbours have lost. And bid them take no thought there- 
fore ; for if I should not leave myself a spoon, there shall 
no poor neighbour of mine bear no loss by any chance, hap- 
pened in my house. I pray you be, with my children and 
3'our household, merry in God : and devise somewhat 
with your friends, what way were best to take, for provi- 
sion to be made for corn for our household, and for seed 
this year coming, if ye think it good that we keep the 
ground still in our hands. And whether ye think it good 
that we so shall do, or not, yet I think it were not best 
suddenly thus to leave it all up, and to put away our folk 
of our farm, till we have somewhat advised us thereon. 
Howbeit, if we have more now than ye shall need, and 
which can get them other masters, ye may then discharge 


us of tlieui. But I would not that any man were sudden- 
ly sent away, he wot not whither. 

* At my coming hither, I perceived none other, but that 
1 should tarry still with the king's grace. But now 1 shall, 
I think, because of this chance, get leave this next week 
to come home and see you ; and then shall we farther de- 
vise together upon all things, what order shall be best to 

* And thus as heartily fare you well, with all our child- 
ren, as ye can wish ! At Woodstock, the third day of Sep- 
tember, by the hand of 

Your loving husband, 

THOMAS more/ 

SIR T. MORE. 93' 


Cardinal Wohey, . . . His advancement, and quarrel tvith the emperor 
Charles. . , . Anecdotes of More and Wol^ey. . . . The hing\s- scruples 
regardins; his marriage. . . . His inconsistency , . . Morels conduct in 
the matter. . . . ff. heij's fall. . . . More made ch-incellor . . . The duke 
of Norfolk s speech and More's on the occasion. . . . More's improve' 
ment in the office. . . . His respect to his father, and impartiality to his 
family. . . . Anecdotes of his chancellorship. . . . He clears the chancery 
of causes. . . . He is offered money by the bishops Jor his writings. ... 
Is again importuned by Henry on the dinorce. , . . He determines ta 
resigji the seal. . . . IVIvch he at last ejffects. . . . Henry* x promise to 
him. . . . A/ore's contempt of ivorldly grandeur. . . . His wife is more 
concerned. . . . ./Anecdotes of her. . . . More provides situations for his 
attendants, and calls together his family. . . . His poverty. . . . Death 
of his father, and his f Hal ciffection. . . . His letters to Erasmus on his 
resignation. . . . His monumental inscription. . . . His buildings and 
charity at Chelsea. ... The remarks of Fox and others on More's 
persecution of heterodoxy . . . State of the times. . . . More's own re- 
futation of his calumniators. 

It is now time to contemplate the lofty elevation of the 
powerful cardinal, whose fall made the way for Sir Thomar 
More's highest advancement. 3 


Wolsey was the son of a butcher of Ipswich. lie re- 
ceived a good education, and discovered an early capacity, 
which obtained him a recommendation as tutor in the mar- 
quis of Dorset's family, to wliich his assiduity soon added 
the friendship of his patron. In time lie Avas promoted as 
chaplain to Henry VII, and was employed by his majesty 
in a secret negociation regarding his intended marriage with 
Margaret of Savoy. His diligence and dexterity gained 
him his master's good opinion, but the king's death, for a 
time, retarded his advancement. 

Fox, bishop of Winchester, having discovered that the 
earl of Surrey had supplanted him in young Henry's favour, 
he hoped, by introducing Wolsey, upon whom he cast his 
eye as a rising man, to the king's familiarit}', to oppose a 
rival to Surrey in his insinuating arts ; while Wolsey, the sly 
churchman likewise hoped, should be content to act a part 
in the cabinet subordinate to his promoter. But the fact 
proved, that Wolsey soon supplanted Surrey in Henry's fa- 
vour, and Fox in his confidence. In the young monarch's 
parties of pleasure Wolsey took the lead, and forgetting 
his years and his profession, he promoted all the gaiety 
which suited Henry's inclination. His father's counsellors, 
he represented, were indeed men of experience, but they 
owed not their promotion to the young king's favour, and 
they obstructed his affairs by their jealousies. A better 
system would be, to entrust his authority to one who Avas 
the creature of his will, could have no othei- view than to 
liis service, and having the same taste for pleasure with him- 

SIR T. 3I0RE, 97 

self, could acquaint him with business in the midst of gaiety. 
Wolsey, in short, soon became the too absolute minister of 
his sovereion. 

The choice which he had made, Henry was by nature 
proud of maintaining ; and Wolsey, while he directed the 
public councils, pretended a blind submission to his mas- 
ter's authority. Of his acquisitions there seemed to be no 
end, and a bare list of his church preferments would be te- 
dious. The pope observed his influence over Henry, and 
deeming it politic to engage him in his interest, his hohness 
created him a cardinal. Eight hundred servants, of Avhom 
many were knights and gentlemen, immediately swelled his 
train, and the churchman's ostentation obtained a kind of 
proverbial fame. The good Warham, as we have seen, 
chose rather to retire, than to maintain an unequal contest 
with the cardinal. On his resignation of the office of chan- 
cellor, the great seal was given to Wolsey ; and the retire- 
ment of the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, and of bishop 
Fox, consigned into the cardinal's hands every authority in 
the kingdom. 


On the recal of Campcggio by Leo X, from his fruitless 
errand to procure a tithe from our clergy, for enabling the 
pope to oppose the Turks, Wolsey, his partner in the com- 
mission, Avas, by the king's desire, alone invested with the 
legantine power, together with the right of visiting all the 
clergy and monasteries, and even of suspending all the laws 
of the church for a year. This new dignity not only af» 

Vol. I. O 


forded tlie cardinal a new opportunity of displaying Ins 
favourite state, but being now by the pope's commission 
and liie king's favour invested with all power, ecclesiastical 
as well as civil, he erected what he called the Icgantinc 
court, a tribunal, to the authority of which, no man knew 
the boundaries. He gave it an inquisitorial and censorial 
power even over the laity ; and the clergy, especially the 
monks, were obliged to purchase indemnities, by large sums 
paid to the legate or to his judge. By virtue of his com- 
mission, he pretended to assume the Jurisdiction of all the 
bishop's courts, particularly that of judging of wills and 
testaments ; and he presented to whatever benefices he 
pleased, without regard to right of election or of patron- 

When Maximilian died, the kings of France and Spain 
became candidates for the imperial crown, and the success 
of Charles enabled Henry, by the power and situation of 
his kingdom, to hold the balance between those powers, 
which seemed to contend for the dominion of Europe. 
Francis solicited an interview with Henry near Calais, in 
the hope of being able to gain upon his friendship and 
confidence. But Charles, hearing of the intended inter- 
view, determined to take the opportunity' in his passage 
from Spain to the Low countries, of paying Henry a still 
higher compliment, by visiting him at Dover ; and it Avas 
here that that politic prince instilled into the aspiring car- 
dinal the hope of attaining the papacy. Yet Adrian VI, 
who had been tutor to the emperor, succeeded Leo in the 


pa]nil chair, and Charles on paying another visit to Eng- 
land renewed to Wolsey his former promises. As Adrian's 
age and infirmities promised a speedy vacancy, the cardinal 
for that time dissembled his resentment ; but when Adrian 
died and Clement VII succeeded, Wolsey became fully 
sensible of the emperor's insincerity, and began to estrange 
himself from the imperial court.* 

More had the courage to oppose Wolsey in the council, 
as well as in parliament. To the former meeting Sir Tho- 
mas no doubt referreth, in the story he tells in one of his 
letterSj-f- of the cardinal's project that England should sup- 
port the emperor in his Avar with France. 

' Some, he writes, thought it wise, that we should sit 
still and leave them alone. But evermore my lord used the 
fable of the wise men ; who, because they would not be 
washed with the rain which should make everyone a fool, 
hid themselves in caves. But when the rain had made the 
rest fools, and these came out of their caves and would ut- 
ter their wisdom, the fools agreed together against them, 
and overcame them. And so, said his grace, if we Avould 
be so wise as to sit in peace while the fools fought, the}'' 
would afterward make head, and all fall upon us. — This 
fable helped the king and the realm to spend many a fair 

More's great-grandson informs us, that the knight alludes 

• Cavendish, Hume, &c. f Eng. works. 

O 2 


to Wolsey also in his book of comfort in tribulation^ wlicii 
lie speaks of a great prelate in Germany, who, when he 
had made an oration before a large assembly, woidd f)liint- 
ly ask those who sat at table with him, hoxv they alt liked il'r' 
and tie wlio brought forth a tnean commendation of it, tcaa 
xure to have no thanks for his labour. 

' On a time,' adds the same writer, ' the cardinal had 
drawn a draft of certain conditions of peace between Eng- 
land and France, and he asked Sir Thomas Mure's counsel 
therein, beseeching hiin earnestly that he would tell hin), if 
there were anything therein to be misliked ; and he spoke 
this so heartily, saith Sir Thomas, that he believed verily 
that he was willing to hear his advice indeed. But when 
Sir Thomas had dealt reall3' therein, and shewed wherein 
that draft might have been amended, he suddenly rose in 
a rage and said, by the mass thou art the veriest fool of 
all the council ! At which Sir 'J'homas smiling, said, God 
Ijc thanked that the king our master hath but oncjool in all 
his council* 

This incident perhaps led to the former allusion by More, 
and will remind the reader of the story of Gil Bias and the 
archbishop. It is certainly disagreeable to be placed in 
the situation of Gil Bias, and connected with one who will 
take it in dudgeon, iiyou do not smoke him with as much 
incense, as would satisfy three or thrice three goddesses.* 

• Jortin. 

SIR T. MORE. 101 

Mr. Roper agrees with those historians, who ascribe to 
Wolsey's spirit of revenge against the emperor, the inflam- 
mation of Henry's scruples regarding the marriage Avith 
Catharine, his aunt. ' And for the better achiving thereof,' 
continues Roper, ' he requested Longland the bishop, be- 
ing ghostly-father to the king, to put a scruple into his 
grace's head, that it was not lawful for him to viarry his bro- 
ther's wife. Which the king not sorry to hear of, opened 
it first unto Sir Thumas More, whose counsel he requested 
therein, shewing him certain places of scripture that seem- 
ed somewiiat to serve his appetite.' 

This happened previously to More's departure for Cam- 

Now Henry's case, if we beheve himseF, Avas complete-- 
ly a case of conscience ; and he was greatly disquieted on 
account of his incestuous intercourse with his brother's wi- 
dow. But is his majesty's word in his own cause to be al- 
Avay relied upon? and if there were dithculties in such a 
marriage which might occasion scruples, how came they 
not to have arisen earlier in the course of eighteen years ? 
If, again, Henry was convinced that his marriage was con- 
trary to God's holy law, was it not strange that one pope 
could grant a dispensation for it, and then another pope 
declare it void ? Did not his pleasure and his cause require 
a limit to the papal power, while his principles and his ap- 
plication to the pope declared that power unlimited ? and 
will it be too severe to conclude, that when Henry found he 


coiiUl nut cany his point and preserve liis principles, lie dc- 
terniined that his passions should not at any rate prove the 
ivcak part to give way ; and that Avhat he attempted at 
first from resentment, in forsaking the holy see, he might 
in time brino; himself to believe was indeed the cause of 
God and of rclis;ion? 

The fact is, that Catharine was six years older than 
Henry, and the purity of her character was a poor recom- 
pence in his estimation for the loss of her beauty. Her 
children, save one daughter, all died in early infancy, and 
the king was very desirous of having male issue. Lastly, 
the beauty of Ann Boleyn, maid of honour to the queen» 
had probably the chief influence on this occasion ; and her 
virtue left llcnr}' no hope of gratifying his passion, except 
by raising her to the throne. No wonder then that a di- 
vorce from Catharine was absolutely necessary. 

More perused the passages of scripture pointed-out by 
the king, but excused himself from giving an opinion, be- 
cause he had 7Wt professed dhhiifi/. Henry, however, urged 
him so strongly, that More besought the time recjuisite for 
a deliberation of such importance ; and the king told him 
that Tonstall and Clark, bishops of Durham and Bath, 
with others of his privy council, should confer with him on 
the subject.* 

' Now would to our Lord son Roper, exclaimed Sir Tho- 

• Roper. 

SIR T. MORE. 103- 

mas one day at Chelsea water-side, upon condition that 
three things were well established in Christendom, I were 
put in a sack and here presently cast into the Thames.' 
Mr. Roper was naturally curious to know what these three 
things were, and the knight continued — ' in faith son they 
be these. The first is, that whereas the most part of chris- 
tian princes be at mortal wars, they were all at universal 
peace. The second, that whereas the church of Christ is 
at this present sore afflicted with many errors and heresies, 
it were settled in perfect uniformity of religion. The third, 
that whereas the matter of the kinsj's marriao;e is now come 
in question, it were, to the glory of God and quietness of 
all parties, brought to a good conclusion.' 

When Sir Thomas came next to court he said to the kino-, 
' to be plain with your grace, neither ni}- lord of Durham, 
nor my lord of Bath, though I know them both to be wise,, 
virtuous, and learned prelates, nor myself with the rest of 
your council, being all 3'our grace's own servants, for your 
manifold benefits, being daily bestowed on us, so much 
bounden unto you, be in my mind meet counsellors for 
your grace herein. But if your grace mean to understand 
the truth, such counsellors may you have devised, as neither 
for respect of their own worldly commodity, nor for fear of 
your princely authority, will be inclined to deceive you.' 
AVhen he named these counsellors, they proved to be Je- 
rome, Austin, &c., and he produced the authorities which 
he had collected out of them. ' M'hich, although the king,', 
continues Mr. Roper, ' as disagreeable to his desire, did not 


very well like-of, yet were they by Sir Thomas More, who 
in all his coinmunication with the kinc; in that matter had 
alway most discreetly behaved himself, so wisely tempered, 
that he both presently took thcra in good part, and often- 
time had thereof conference with him again/ 

After More's return from Cambray, Henry again opened 
with him the question of his divorce ; and declared to him, 
that although at his departure he despaired of success, yet 
since that time he had conceived great hopes of being able 
to accomplish it. For, though his marriage, being origin- 
ally against the positive laws of the church and the writ- 
ten law of God, was rectified by the dispensation from 
Rome, yet was there another thing found out of late, where- 
by it appeared to be so directly against the law of nature 
that the church could in nowise dispense it. Henry then 
referred liim to Dr. Stokesly, newly created bishop of Lon- 
don, and in that case chief i/ credited, says Air. Roper. 

y But it was IMorc's great characteristic that no hope of 
wain or fear of disgrace could induce him to swerve from 
the dictates of his conscience ; and, notwithstanding his 
conference with the bishop, he saw no reason to change his 
former opinion. Stokesly, however, reported favourably of 
More to the king, saying, the knight was truly desirous of 
seeing something in the case in his majesty's favour. The 
i'dct is, Wolsey had offended Stokesly, and the bishop wish- 
ed to shew himself more solicitous than the cardinal as to 
the king's favourite object.* 

• Roper. 

SIR T. MORE. 105 

CleiDent, slill smarting from the sack of Rome, was at 
this time anxious for his personal safety, and well knew that 
the emperor could alone restore the Medici to their domi- 
nion in Florence. The cause of Charles was naturally that 
of queen Catharine, and a powerful one with the pope 
compared to that of Henry. No wonder then that the 
commission, which on Henry's application he granted to 
Wolsey and Campeggio, to try the matter here, proved in- 
conclusive, and that the cause was soon evoked to Rome. 

Wolsey well knew that this measure was the certain fore- 
runner of his fall, for he knew that Henry expected his mi- 
nisters to be answerable for the success of their undertak- 
ings. The motion of the cardinal's ruin became now as ac- 
celerated, as had before been that of his advancement; and 
in fine, the great seal was demanded from him and given 
by the king to Sir Thomas More. 

Thus the fall of Wolsey made way for Sir Thomas More 
to become chancellor of England, and it hath been sup- 
posed by some, in which number is Mr. Roper, that one 
reason with Henry for giving him the seal, was to render 
him more favourable to the cause the kins had so much at 
heart. Wolsey himself is reported to have said, that he 
thought no man in England worthier of the appointment 
than More.* 

The knight Avas attended through Westminster-hall to his 

• Morct 

Vol. I. P 


seat in the cliancciT by tlic dukes of Norlblk and .Sullblk. 
'I'lic spt'cvli made bv his grace of Noifolk on the occasion, 
and the subsequent one by Sir 'J'honias, are here translated 
IVom Stapleton. 

TItc Duke of Noi'fo/h^s Speech. 

' it hatli [)leased liis majesty (and may it prove happy 
tor the whole realm of England !) to raise to the high dig- 
nity of chancellor, Sir Thonias More, a man suHiciently 
known to himself and to his kingdom. His majest}' hath 
done this, from no otlicr motive or respect whatever, than 
because he perceived in this man all the endowments which 
his people could desire or himself could wish, for the due 
discharge of the high office. His understanding, liis inte- 
grit}', tiie innocence of his life, and his happy genius, have 
not only been celebrated among his countrymen from his 
early youth, but known for many years past to the king 
himself also. Of this his majesty hath had very ample ex- 
perience in many and great concerns at home and abroad, 
in various offices which he hath filled, in foreign embassies 
of great importance, and in his daily counsels in affairs of 
state. He hath thought his wisdom in deliberation, his 
truth in uttering his real sentiments, and his elo(juence in 
adorning what he uttered, surpassed by none. I'rom such 
a man every thing is to be expected ; and since his majesty 
■vvisheth his people to be governed with equity and justice, 
integrity and wisdom, he hath appointed him chancellor ; 
that his people may enjoy peace and justice, and the king- 
dom honour and fame. 

SIR T. MORE. 107 

' It may seem a novelty that this dignity is conferred 
upon a layman, a married man, and one of no high birtli, 
Avhen heretofore it hath been given to highest prelates and 
nobility : But what any one may think deficient in these 
respects, is abundantly compensated by the admirable vir- 
tues of this man, and his incomparable gifts of genius and 
of nature. The king liath therefore regarded, not how great, 
but what a man he is ; not his titles, but his merits ; not 
his station, but his ability. Lastly, his majesty would shew 
by his choice of Sir Thomas More, that excellent men are 
not wanting among his gentry and the laity, to fill the of- 
fices occupied by ecclesiastics and nobles ; which being a 
blessing more rarely afforded by the Deity, his majesty 
esteemeth it the greater and more dear to his people. Re- 
ceive then More for your chancellor under these happy au- 
spices, and expect every prosperity from the choice which 
his majesty hath made.' 

Sir Thomas Mores Speech. 

' Most noble duke, and ye my honourable lords and gen- 
tlemen. Although I know that what his majesty hath been 
pleased should be said of me on this occasion, and which 
your grace hath amplified in most elegant terms, is as un- 
worthy of me, as I wish it were true, and as this otKce par- 
ticularly requires ; and although your speech hath agitated 
me more than I can well express ; yet this incomparable 
favour of his majesty cannot but be most grattlul to mc, 
that he thinks so favourably of me, and commends my me- 

P 2 


(liocrity to you so lionourably. ^Aiid I cannol hut return 
yoiu" grace my most hearty thanks, who have thus auipli- 
fied tlie commands of his majesty in an elegant and elo(|uent 
oration. For the matchless favour alone of his majesty to- 
Mixrd me, his generosity and the incredible propension of 
his royal mind to me, by which my small merits have now 
for many years been distinguished, and no desert of mine, 
cause this new honour and these commendations. For who 
aiu 1, or what the house of my father, that his majesty 
should accumulate so many and so great honours upon me? 
Inferior to the least of his favours, of this station and ho- 
nour I am certainly unworthy, and hardly equal to the dis- 
eliaro-e of its duties. 

' Unwillingly I came, as his majesty hath often allowed, 
to court and to his service ; but this dignity is most of all 
against my will. Yet such is the goodness, such the be- 
nignity of his majesty, that he magnifieth the smallest du- 
ties of his subjects ; and richly remunerates his servants, 
though they have little merit, if they be but desirous of 
pleasing him. In this number I have ever wished to be, 
though I could not reckon myself among the meritorious. 

* This being the case, you will all easily perceive with 
me, how great a burden is imposed upon me, that my di- 
ligence and duty may correspond with the king's great fa- 
vour, and that I may answer his high expectation of me. 
These praises were therefore the less grateful to me, the 
more I knew the difficulty of my duty, and how few aids I 

SIR T. MORE. 109 

had to make myself appear not unwortiiy ol' thcin. Tlic 
burden is greater than my shoulders will bear, the honour 
greater than my merits ; it is a care, not a glory ; a soli- 
citude, not a dignity. I must bear it Avith my best exer- 
tions, and fulfil the duty as dexterously as 1 can. But a 
great stimulus to my success will be, the strong desire which 
hath through life been highest in my mind, and w'hich I ac- 
knowledge now chietiy to actuate me, of satisfying his ma- 
jesty's high claims upon me. xVnd I rely upon this beino- 
more easy to me, the more I find all your good wills to 
correspond with the king's favour. For my desire of doino- 
right, united with your favourable acceptance, will certainly 
establish the success of my endeavours, and make them, 
though small, seem great and praise- worthy. What we set- 
about cheerfully, we achieve happily ; and Avhat is kindly 
received appears best executed. As therefore ye hope the 
best possible of me, so, though I cannot promise ye the 
best possible, yet promise 1 the best I can perform. 

* But when I look upon this seat, when I recollect who 
and how gi'cat persons have filled it before me, when I con- 
template who sat in it last, a man of what singular wisdom, 
of what skill in business, of what splendid and lono-.pros- 
perous fortune, with a high and inglorious fall at last, I see 
the difficulty of my situation before me, and mv new ho- 
nour is rendered less grateful and pleasant to me, than it 
may seem to many. For it is difficult to succeed with ap- 
probation to one of such genius, wisdom, authority, and 
splendour, or to trace his footsteps with an equal pace. It 


s like burning a candle after tlie setting sun. And the un- 
expected and sudtlen lall of so great a man is a terrible ad- 
monition to me, not to let my new honour please me too 
much, or its splendour dazzle my eyes. 

' I therefore ascend this seat, as one which is full of la- 
bour and hazard, while it is empty of true and solid honour. 
The higher it is, the greater the precipice I must guard 
against, as not only the nature of the thing, but the recent 
example sufficiently warn me. And unless, under these cir- 
cumstances, the incredible propension of his majesty toward 
me, and the good will of you all, which I gather from your 
agreeable countenances, recreated and refreshed me, I might 
stumble at this very entrance, and perhaps faint ; this seat 
woidd not seem pleasantcr to me, than did the sword which 
hung by a horse-hair over the head of Damocles while he 
occupied the state-chair of Dionysius in the midst of ho- 
nours and delicacies. This then Avill I ever keep in mind, 
this have alway before my eyes, that this seat will in such 
degree be honourable to me, full of dignity and splendour, 
a new and renowned preferment, as I continue with all care 
and vigilance to administer my high office with fidelity and 
wisdom, and as I keep in mind that my enjoyment of it 
may be but short and precarious. The one, ni}- diligence 
ought to accomplish ; the other, the example of ni}^ prede- 
cessor teach me. 

' This being the case, you will all the more easily ap- 
preciate what pleasure this high office, this effusion of the 

.SIR T. MORE. Ill 

noble duke, or this matchless favour of his majesi}', afford 

' And as they had before charged him,' adds Mr. Roper, 
' on the king's behalf, uprightly to administer inditierent 
justice to the people, without corruption or affection ; so 
did he likewise charge them again, that if they saw him at 
any time in anything to digress from any part of his duty 
in that honourable office, even as they Avould discharge 
their own duty and fidelity to God and the king, so should 
they not fail to disclose it to his grace, who otherwise might 
have just occasion to lay his fault wholly to their charge/ 

The reader will recollect, that this speech was delivered 
extempore, nearly three hundred years ago, upon that dif- 
ficult subject, a man's self. The speaker seems sufficiently 
to evince his acquaintance with his sovereign's character, 
and that he foresaw it would not suit his own conscience 
and inclination long to enjoy his dignity. 

Having now traced Sir Thomas More to the summit of 
his profession, and to the highest dignit\' which, as a lay- 
man, he could possess in this country, we are next to view 
the integrity of his administration in it, and his incorruptible 
mind in the midst of worldly greatness. 

Speedily was a remarkable alteration to be perceived in i53o. 
the discharge of the office. The pride of Wolsey rendered 


bim inaccessible to persons of conmion rank, and bribery 
to his attendants was rcqnisitc for reaching his presence 
only. ]Uit the new chancellor, the poorer and meaner a 
suiter was, the more aftably would he address him, the more 
attentively hear his business, and the more speedily dis- 
jiatch it.* He used commonly every afternoon (says Mr. 
Roper) to sit in his open hall, to the intent that if any per- 
son had any suit unto iiim, they might the more boldly 
come to his presence and open their complaints before him. 
Ilis manner was also, to read every bill himself before he 
would award any subpoena ; which being matter worthy of 
subpoena, he would set his hand to it ; if otherwise, he can- 
celled it. 

His father, Sir John More, now nearly ninety years of 
age, was still a judge of the king's-bench wlien More be- 
came chancellor. ^Vhenever he passed through A\'estmin- 
ster-hall to his place in the chancery by the court of king's- 
1)ench (says Mr. Roper) if his father had seated liimself ere 
he came, he would go into the same court, and there re- 
verently kneeling down in the sight of them all, duly ask 
his father's blessing. And if it fortuned that his father and 
he, at readings in Lincoln's-inn, met together, as they 
sometimes did, notwithstanding his high office he would 
offer in argument the pre-eminence to his father ; though 
he, for his office sake, would refuse to take it. 

No one who understands More's character, will be sur- 

• More. 

SIRT. MORE. 113 

prized at finding, that tiie claims of friendship or relation- 
ship had not the smallest influence over him in the impar- 
tial administration of justice. 

One of his sons-in-law said to him one day, while he was 
chancellor, that in "Wolsey's time not only they of his privy- 
chamber, but his very door-keeper, made great profits ; 
whereas Sir Thomas Avas so easy of access to every degree 
of persons, that if, in his attendance upon him, he took 
any fee, he should injure the parties, by making them pay 
for what they could obtain for themselves, and which, 
though commendable in Sir Thomas, was not profitable to 
him. * You say well son/ replied the knight, ' I do not 
mislike that 3'^ou are of conscience so scrupulous. But 
many other wa3's be there, son, that I may both do you 
good and pleasure your friend also. For sometimes may I 
by my word stand your friend in stead ; and sometimes 
may I by my letter help him ; or if he have a cause de- 
pending before me, at your request I may hear him before 
another ; or if his cause be not all the best, yet may I move 
the parties to fall to some end or arbitrament. Howbcit, 
this one thing, son, I assure thee on ray faith, that if the 
parties will at my hands call for justice, then were it my 
father stood on one side and the devil on the other, his cause 
being good, the devil should have right.' 

Another of his sons-in-law, Mr. Heron, had a cause pend- 
ing in chancery, and presumed so much upon the favour 
of Sir Thomas, that he would not be persuaded to agree 

Vol. I. Q 


to any compromise. The result was, that the chancellor, 
ou licaring the cause, made a decision directly against 

His talent for drollery could not forsake More, even in 
his liighest elevation. An attorney of the name of Tul), 
it is said, once brought him a cause for subscription, which 
the knight, finding the matter frivolous, signed A Tale of a 
Tub ; and Tub bore away the cause in triumph, without 
at that time discovering the joke.f- 

While he was sitting in his hall one day, a beggar came 
to him to complain, that Lad}' More detained a little dog 
which belonged to her. The chancellor sent for his lady^ 
and ordered her to brins; the dog with her. He took it into 
his hands, and placing Lady More at the upper end of the 
hall, desired the beggar to stand at the lower end. I sit 
here, he said, to do every one justice ; and he desired each 
of them to call the dog-. The little favourite immediately 
forsook his new mistress and ran to the beggar ; upon which 
Lady More was compelled to indulge her partiality by pur- 
chasing the animal. ^ 

The duke of Norfolk came to dine with Sir Thomas one 
day at Chelsea while he was chancellor, and found him at 
church singing in the quire with a surplice on. ' God's body, 
God's body, my lord chancellor, said his grace as they 
went home, what a parish clerk, a parish clerk ? — you dis- 

• Roper. t More. % Ibid. 

SIR T. MORE. 115 

lionour the king and his office.' ' Nay/ rephed Sir Tho- 
mas, smiUng, ' your grace may not think that the king, 
your master and mine, will with me for serving God, his 
master, be offended, or thereby account his office disho- 
noured.' * 

Few injunctions as he granted while he was chancellor 
to stop proceedings at common law, he had yet gone too 
far in this particular to obtain the approbation of all the 
judges ; whereof he received information from Mr. Roper. 

Sir Thomas hereupon caused the chief of the six clerks 
to make a docket containing the whole number and causes 
of all such injunctions as had already passed in his time, 
or were then pending before him, and invited all the judges 
to dine with him in the council-chamber at Westminster. 
After dinner, he hinted at the complaints he had heard, 
and then displayed so clearly the motives of his conduct, 
that they were compelled to confess tliey would have acted 
similarly under similar circumstances. He then observed 
that if the justices of every court (unto whom the reform- 
ing the rigour of the law appertained) would, in their own 
discretion, as he thought they were in conscience bound, 
reform that rigour themselves, he would grant no more in- 
junctions. Mhich, when they refused, forasmuch as your- 
selves, my lords, he said, drive me to that necessiiij of award- 
ing-out injunctions to relieve the people^s injury, you cannot 
hereafter any more justly blame me. I perceive, son, he add- 

• Roper. 



cd to Mr. Roper, k'^i/ ihcy like not so to do. For they see 
that they may, by the verdict of the jury, cast-off all quar- 
rels from themselves on those; which they do account their 
chief defence. And therefore am I compelled to abide the 
adventure of all such reports.* 

So indefatigable was More in his application to business, 
and so expert in the dispatch of it, that it is said, during 
his presidency in the chancery, having one day ended a 
cause, and calling for the next which was to be heard, he 
received for answer that the7'e was not another cause depend- 
ing. -f This fact he ordered to be entered upon record, and 
it gave rise, probably at a later day, to the following epi- 


When More sometime had chanc'Uor been 

No more suits did remain ; 
The same shall never more be seen 

Till Alore be there again. 

More, while he was chancellor, cannot be supposed to 
have had much leisure for religious controversy. Yet his 
abilities were in request to oppose the reformers, and his 
English works abundantly prove what his son-in-law asserts, 
that he set-forth divers profitable works in defence of the 
trtie christian religion against heresies secretly sown-abroad 
in the realm. 

The bishops, considering that notwithstanding the favour 

Roper. t More. 


SIR T. MORE. 117 

©f the king, he was not a rich man, agreed at a convoca- 
tion, with others of the clerg}-^, to recompence him with a 
sum of money (supposed to have been four or five thou- 
sand pounds), to be raised among them. The bishops of 
Batli, Durham, and Exeter, waited upon him in conse- 
quence, and acknowledging the obhgation of their body to 
his labours, presented him the money in the name of the 
convocation. More refused the present, and said with his 
thanks, that it was no small comfort to him, that men so 
wise and learned so well accepted his simple doings, for 
which he never intended to receive reward but at the hands 
of God, to whom their thanks were due. 

When no importunity would prevail with him, the bishops 
besought More that they might present the money to his 
wife and children. ' Not so my lords,' said the knight. 
* I had rather see it cast in the Thames than that either I 
or any of mine should have thereof the worth of a penny. 
For although your oft'er, my lords, be indeed very friendly 
and honourable, yet set I so little by my profit and so much 
by my pleasure, that I would not in good faith have lost 
the watching of so many nights for much more than 3'our 
liberal offer. And yet wish would I, for all that, upon con- 
dition that all heresies were suppressed, that all my books 
were burnt and my labour lost.'* 

The reformers circulated a report from this circumstance, 
that More was bribed by the clergy, the greater part ot- 

• Roper. 


whom he certainly far surpassed in knowledge, to wrile 
against tlieni.* 

In bis writings, Sir Thomas hath the following jiassage 
on this subject. ' I will not say nay, but that some good 
and honourable men of them (the clergy) would, in reward 
of my good will and luy labour against these heretics, have 
given me much more than ever I did or could deseri-e. 
But I dare take God and them also to record, that all they 
could never fee me with one penny thereof; but, as I plain- 
ly told them, I would rather have cast their money into 
the Thames than take it. Tor albeit they were, as indeed 
there were, both good men and honourable, yet look I for 
my thank of God that is their better, and for whose sake 

I take the labour and not for theirs. 1 am not yet fully 

so virtueless, but that of mine own natural disposition, with- 
out any special peculiar help of grace thereto, I am both 
over-proud and over-slothful also, to be hired /or moiici/, to 
take half the labour and business in writing, that 1 have 
taken in this gear (matter) since 1 began.' -f- 

Soon after his entry upon his office of chancellor, Henry 
again importuned More upon the subject of the divorce. 
The knight, saith Mr. Roper, fell on his knees and be- 
sought his majesty to remain the gracious sovereign he had 
ever found him. Nothing had been so grievous to him as 
his inability to serve his majesty in that matter with a safe 
conscience, having ever borne in mind his majesty's words 

• More. •)- Eng. worki, p. ^6/, 

SIR T. MORC. 119 

on his entry into his service, the most virtuous lesson which 
prince ever taught his servant, first to look unto God, and 
after God unto him. 

Henry answered, continues Roper, tliat if j\Iore could 
not conscientiously serve him in that matter, he was con- 
tent to accept the knight's services in other ways, and to 
take the advice of" others of his council whose consciences 
did not revolt at it ; that he would continue his favour to- 
ward the knight, and never more molest his conscience with 
that matter. But this langiiage proceeded from Henry's 
heart as it alway should have been, and not, as we shall find,, 
fiom what it alway was. 

Dr. Cranmer, fellow of Jesus-college, Cambridge, had 
remarked by accident in the company of Gardiner, secre- 
tary of state, and Fox, the king's almoner, that the readi- 
est way, either to quiet Henry's conscience or to extort the 
pope's consent to his divorce, would be to consult all the 
universities of Europe on the question, whose decree the 
pope must find it very difficult to resist ; and Henrj-, de- 
lighted at the idea, swore Cranmer had got the right sow by 
the ear, and immediately took him into his favour. Several 
universities gave their verdict according; to the king's wish 
without hesitation, and Oxford and Cambridge in time 
complied also. Clement, however, lying still under the 
influence of thu emperor, persevered in summoning Henry, 
either in person or by proxy, to appear at Rome. But 
Henry regarded the citation as an insult ; and the earl of 


Wiltshire, father of Ann Boleyn, wlio bore to the pope his 
mairsty's reasons for not aj)pcaring, gave his hohncss the 
aHiont of refusing the customary salute to his profl'ered 

In a word, ^iore plainly perceived the king's determina- 
tion to marry Ann Boleyn at all events, and that all his 
measures and those of his parliament pointed to a breach 
with the church of Rome, and to an alteration of religion. 
His office occasioned him to be sent by the king, in com- 
pany with certain nobles and bishops, from the lords to the 
commons, to inform them the opinions of the universities ; 
and he was compelled to recite a tale, which certainly af- 
forded him little satisfaction in the lelhng. But Alore's 
contempt of worldly greatness was too strong to allow him 
to hold the highest of stations subject to the violation of his 
conscience, and it was certainly not improbable, as matters 
now stood, that he might Irccjuently undergo similar trials. 
Thoutrh he mio-ht concur with those who would abbreviate 
the illegal jurisdiction of the pope in this country, he saw 
now by the king's designs that a total rupture would Ibllow; 
and he was not inclined to go to that length which the court 
intended against the catholic cause, not to mention the ob- 
jections he appeared to have to the di\orce. 

We shall not wonder then, that More soon applied to his 
particular friend, the duke of Norlolk, M' intercede with 
Henry, that he might be permitted to resign tiic sial. A 
complaint in his breast arising trom too streuuous an appU- 


cation to business, was the reason assigned by the knight 
to the duke, as well as in his letters to his friends, for this 
resignation ; and perhaps those only who are unacquainted 
with the character of Henry, will blame More for so much 
dissimulation on the occasion. 

But Norfolk knew too well the value of More to the 
king in the station which he filled, to make such a proposal 
to his majesty without much importunity fi-om the knight; 
and Henry knew his worth too well, to listen to it without 
repeated solicitation. The king's consent was, however, at 
last obtained, and More waited upon his majesty by ap- 
pointment, to deliver-up the seal. 1532. 

' Which,' continues Mr. Roper, ' as his grace, with 
thanks and praise for his worthy service in that office, at 
his hands courteously received, so it pleased his highness 
farther to say unto him, that for the service which he be- 
fore had done him, in any suit which he should afterward 
have unto him which should either concern his honour (for 
that word it pleased his highness to use unto him), or which 
should appertain unto his profit, he should find his highness 
a good and gracious lord unto him.* 

More's great-grandson adds, perhaps somewhat /<?e////o7?/, 
* how true these words proved, let others be judges, when 
the king not only bestowed not upon him the value of one 
penny, but took from him and his posterity all that ever he 

Vol. I. R 


had, either given by himself, or left him by his father, or 
purchased by himself 

It hath been justly remarked of More, that he descend- 
ed from his high station with more joy and alacrity than 
he had ascended to it. He sported with the varieties of 
his fortune, and neither the pride of high station, nor the 
melancholy of retreat could disturb his serenity. When 
his Inends discovered soitow on his descent from grandeur, 
he laughed at their distress, and made them ashamed of 
losing a moment's chearfulness from such trivial misfor- 

His second wife appears from the following anecdote to 
have been less of a philosopher than himself on this occa- 

During his chancellorship, one of INIore's attendants had 
been in the habit, after the church-service was over, of go- 
ing to his lady's pew to inform her when the chancellor was 
gone. The first holiday after the resignation of his office. 
Sir Tliomas came to the pew himself, and, making a low 
bow, said, madam, ini/ lord is gone. His lady at first ima- 
gined this to be one of his jests, and took little notice of 
it ; but when he informed her seriously that he had resign- 
ed the seal, she was in a passion. The facetious knight 
called his daughters, and asked if they could espy no fault 
in their mother's appearance ? Being answered in the ne- 

* Hume. 

SIR T. MORE. la 

gative, he replied, do ye not perceive that her nose stand- 
eth somewhat awry ? * 

The good lady is reported to have exclaimed with her 
usual worldly feeling on this occasion, Tilli vally, what will 
you do Mr. More ? will yoit sit and make gosli?igs in the ash- 
es ? it is better to rule than to be ruled, f. 

More's first care after the resignation of his office, was, 
to provide situations for his late attendants. He used all 
his influence to place these among the nobility and bishops ; 
and next called together his children, whom hitherto he 
had maintained with their families in his own house, in the 
manner of an ancient patriarch. Declaring to them that 
he could not now, as he had done formerly, and still glad- 
ly would have done, bear all their expences himself, he 
asked their advice, what they should do that they might 
continue to live together, which he much desired .'* 

* AVhen he saw us silent,' continues Mr. Roper, and in 
that case not read}' to shew our opinions unto him, ' then 
will 1,' said he, ' shew my poor mind to ye. I have been 
brought-up,' quoth he, ' at Oxford, at an inn of the chan- 
cery, at Lincoln's-inn, and also in the king's court, and so 
from the least degree to the highest ; and yet have I in 
j'early revenues at this present left me a little above a hun- 
dred pounds by the year : so that now must we hereafter 
if we like to live together, be contented to become contri- 

• Roper. f More. 

R 2 


butors together. But by my counsel, it shall not be best 
for us to fall to the lowest fare first. We will not therefore 
descend to Oxford fare, nor to the fare of New-inn ; but 
we will begin with Lincoln's-inn diet, where many right 
worshipfuls and of good years do live full well together : 
AVhich if we find not ourselves able to maintain the first 
year, then will we the next year go one step down to New- 
inn fare, wherewith many an honest man is well-contented. 
J f that exceed our ability too, then we will the next year 
after descend to Oxibrd fare, where many grave, learned, 
and ancient fathers be continually conversant : Which if 
our power stretch not to maintain neither, then ma}' Ave yet 
Avith bags and wallets go a begging together, and hoping 
that for pity some good folks Avill give us their charity, at 
every man's door to sing salve regiiia, and so still keep com- 
pany and be merry together.' 

' And whereas,' adds Mr. Roper, ' you have heard be- 
fore, he "was by the king, from a very worshipful living, 
taken into his service, with whom, in all the great and 
weighty causes that concerned his highness or the realm, 
he consumed and spent, with painful cares, travails and 
troubles, as well beyond the seas as within the realm, in 
effect the whole substance of his life ; yet, with all tha 
gain he got thereby (being never wasteful spender thereof) 
he was not able, after the resignation of his office of the 
lord chancellor, for the maintenance of himself and such 
as necessarily belonged unto him, sufficiently to find meat, 
drink, fuel, and apparel, and such other necessary charges. 

SIR T. MORE. 126 

All the land that ever he purchased (which also he pur- 
chased before he was lord chancellor) was not, I am well 
assured, above the value of twenty marks by the year. 
And after his debts paid, he had not I know (his chain ex- 
cepted) in gold and silver left him, the worth of one hun- 
dred pounds/ 

When More's house was afterward searched upon his 
couniiitment to the Tower, because it was thought that he 
was not really so poor as he appeared to be, he told his 
daughter Margaret that this would prove but a sport to 
those who knew the truth of his poverty, unless indeed they 
should Jind his wife^s gay girdle and her golden heads^' 

It was about this time that More's father, Sir John INlore, 
died, in extreme old age ; having lived to see the summit 
of his son's prosperity, and departing in time not to wit- 
ness his severe end. Sir Thomas is said to have displayed 
the strong-est filial affection on this occasion ; and the old 
man breathed his last, comforted by the prayers and em- 
braces of his dear son.-j^ 

Little, if any, increase of fortune accrued to More by 
his father's death. Sir John's last wife, who outlived Sir 
Thomas about ten years, enjoyed her husband's chief house 
and lands at Gubbins in Hertfordshire. :j: And in More's 
Apology, written about this time, he asserts, as for all the 
lands and fees that I have in all England, beside such lands 

* More. t Ibid, and Roper. % More. 


and fees as I have of the gift of the king's most noble grace, 
is not at this day, nor shall be zrhilc my mother-in-law liveth 
(whose life and good health I pray God long keep and con- 
tin uv) worth yearly to my Ining, the stim of full jij't y pounds* 
Such was More's charitj', and his contempt of wealth ! 

In his Latin works are preserved two letters which More 
wrote to Erasmus soon after the rcsisrnation of his office, 
lliey contain some interesting passages which are here trans- 

' The thing which I have wished for from a boj, dear 
Desiderius, which I rejoice in your having ever enjoyed, 
and myself occasionally, — namely, that being free from 
public business, I might have some time to devote to God 
and myself, — that, by the grace of a great and good God, 
and by the favour of an indulgent prince, I have at last 

* I have not, liowever, obtained it as I wished. For I 
wished to reach that last stage of my life in a state, Avhicli, 
though suitable to my age, might yet enable me to enjoy 
my remaining years healthy and unbroken, free from dis- 
ease and pain. But it remaineth in the hand of God, 
whether this wish, perhaps unreasonable, shall be accom- 
plished. Meantime a disorder of 1 know not what nature 
hath attacked my breast, by which I sutFer less in present 
pain than in fear of the consequence. For when it had 

* Eng. Tforks, p. 867- 

SIR T. MORE. 127 

plagued me without abatement some months, the physi- 
cians whom I consulted gave their opinion, that the long 
continuance of it was dangerous, and the speedy cure im- 
possible ; but that it must be cured by the gradual altera- 
tive effects of time, proper diet and medicine. Neither 
could they fix the period of my recovery, or ensure me a 
complete cure at last. 

* Considering this, I saw that I must either lay down 
my office, or discharge my duty in it incompletely. And 
since I could not discharge that duty without the hazard 
of my life, and by so doing should lose both life and office, 
I determined to lose one of them rather than both. Where- 
fore, that I might consult the public good as well as my 
own welfare, I entreated of the kindness of my good and 
great prince, that from the high office with which (as you 
know) he honoured me by his incredible favour, far above 
my pretensions, above my hopes, above my wishes, he 
should now release me, sinking as I was under the weight 
of it. 

' I therefore pray heaven, that God, who alone is able, 
may repay these favours of his majesty toward me ; that 
the remaining time which he allottcth me may not be spent 
in inglorious and slothful repose, but that he may give me 
inclination and strength of body also, to employ it profit- 
ably. For, under bad health, I am not equal to anything; 
nor, my good friend, are we all like Erasmus, that that 
might be expected from us which God in his kindness seems 


to have granted exclusively to you. For who but yourself 
could dare to promise Avhat you accomplish? — you, who 
arc not hindered by the inconvenicncies of growing age, 
and, though you be constantly atHicted with such maladies 
as might sicken and overcome youth and strength, yet 
cease you not yearly to instruct mankind by your excellent 
writings, as if age and ill health had robljcd you of no- 
thin <i'. 

' Certain praters had begun to give it out here, that 
though 1 dissembled lu}' sentiments, I gave-up my otlice 
unwilhngly ; but, having set-about my monument, I have 
not failed to represent the matter as it really was, in my 
epitaph, that, if anybody could, I n)ight myself confute 
such insinuations. In appreciating this act, though they 
could not tax me with falsehood, they acquitted me not of 
some degree of ai'rogance. But I preferred this, to letting 
the other gain credit ; certainly not on my own account, 
Avho think very little of what men say wliile God approveth, 
but since 1 had written some books in our language in the 
cause of the faith against certain of our advocates for the 
most disputed tenets, I conceived that it behoved me to 
defend the integrity of my character. And that you may 
know how arrogantly 1 have written, I send you my epi- 
taph, by which you will see with what assurance I leave 
these men uncomplinicnted, that they may the less say of 
nie what they please. 

•* I have now waited a due time for suffrages on my 

SIR T. MORE. lyc) 

official conduct, but no one hath jet stepped ibrward to 
challenge my integrity. I must thus have bcci» very in- 
nocent or very cautious, and if my adversaries will not 
give me credit for the one they must for the other. The 
king himself hath declared his sentiments on the subject 
often in private, and twice in public. J*'or when my suc- 
cessor, a very first-rate personage, took liis scat, his ma- 
jesty commanded the duke of Norfolk, high-treasurer of 
England, to bear most honourable testimony of me, yea 
more than my modesty w ill allow me to repeat, and to say 
that he dismissed me most unwillingly at my entreaty ; and 
not content with so great a favour, he caused this to be 
repeated long afterward in iiis presence, in our assembly 
of peers and commons called parliament, by my successor, 
in his first speech, made as is customary on that occasion.' 

The monumental inscription above alluded to, was in- 
scribed by More on the south side of the choir of his parish 
church at Chelsea, soon after the resignation of his office. 
The remams of his first wife being removed thither, he 
subjoined the verses, which he had written many years pre- 
viously.* The original and a translation here follow. 

Thomas Morus, 
Urbe Londinensi familia non celebri sed Iiouesta natus, 

In Uteris ufctinque versatus, 
Quum et causas aliquot aunos juvenis egisset in foro, 
Et in urbe sua pro shyrevo jus dixisset, 

'* English work>. 

Vol. I. S 


All inviclissimo rci^c Ilcniico Vfll 
(Cui uni rcgtim oiuiiiuin gloria prius iiuiulilu coiiligil 


Qualcm el gladio sc ct culaino vcrc praDslitit, 
Mcrito vocaretur) 
Adscitus in aiilam est 
Delcctusque in consilium ct crcatus cqiics, 
ProqujEstor primum, post caiiccUarius Lancasliiaj, tandem Angliie, 
Miro principis favore factus est. 
Sed interim in publico rcgni scnatu lectus est orator populi ; 
Praetcrea legatus regis nonuunqiiara fnil, alias alibi, 
Postrenio vero Camcr.,(;i, 
Comes ct collcga junctus priricipi IcgaUouLs (Juthberto Tonstallo, 
Turn Londinensi mox Dnmlemenii cpiscopo; 
Quo viro vix babet orbis hodie quicquara eruditius, prudcntius, melius. 
Ibi inter suramos orbis cliristiani monarclias rur.sus refecta foedcra, 
RtdditamqiiP mundo diu desideiniam pucem 
El lietissiiims vidit ct legatus interfuit. 
Quam sui^ri pacem (irment faxiutquc pcrennem ! 
la hoc ofliciorum vel hononiin cursu quum ita versarctur 
Ut neque princeps optimus operam ejus improbaret 
Ncquc nobilibus essct invisus, nee iujucundus populo, 
Furibus autera, hoiuicidis, hicrcticisque molestus, 
Pater ejus landem, Johannes JNIorus, eques, 
Etin cum judicumordinema piincipc cooplatus qui regius consessus vocatur, 
Homo civilis, suavis, innocens, mitis, miscricors, .-cquus ct integer, 
Annis quidam gravis sed corpore plusquam pro ajtate vivido, 
Postqnam eo productain sibi vitam vidit 
L t iilium videret Angli;e canccllarium, 
Satis in terra jam se moratum ratus 
Libens raigravit in coelum. 
At filius, defuncto patre, 
Cui, quamdiu supererat, comparatus et juvenis vocari consucverat 
Et ipse quoque sibi vidcbatur, 
Amissura jam patrcju requirens 

sill T. MORE. 131 

Et editos ex se libeios quatuor ac nepotes undecim lespicicus, 

Apud aiiiraum suum ca-pit pcrscnesccrt. 

Auxit liunc afl&^^ctum aiiimi 

Siibsecuta slatim, velut appetentis senii signum, 

Pectoris valctuc^? deterior. 

Itaquc morlalium haruiTi rerum sattir, 

Qu; rem a puero peiie st-mper optaverat, 

Ut ultimos aliquot vitaj suaj annos obtincret liberos, 

Quibus hujus vitae negotiis paulatim se subdacens 

Futura? possit immortalitatem meditari, 

Earn rem (aadcm (si cccptis annuat D'us) 

Indulgentissinii piincipis incomparabili beneficio 

Resigiiatis bouoribus impetravit : 

Atque hoc sepulcbrum sibi 

Qaod mortis cum nunquam cessantis adrcpere quotidie commoncfaccret, 

Translatis Luc prioris uxoris ossibus, 

Extrucndum curavit. 

Quod ne supors^tc's IVustra sibi tecerit 

Neve ingruentiim trepidus mortem horreat, 

Sed desiderio Christi libcns oppetat, 

Mortemque ut sibi non omniao mortem 

Sed jaimara vi(a3 fciir ioris invcniat, 

Precibus eiim piis, lector optirae, 

Spirantem precor defanctumque prosequere. 

Chara Tboma; jacct hie Joanna iixorcula Mori, 

Qv't tuniiilum Alicia; hunc destine, quique milii. 
Una mihi dedit hoc conjuncta vircntibus annis 

Me vocet nt pucr et trina puella patrem. 
Altera privignis (qu;e gloria rara noverca; est) 

Tani pia quam gnatis vix tuit uUa suis. 
Altera sic niccum vixit, sic altera vivit, 

Charior inccrtum est h«c sit an h»c fuerit. 

S 2 


O ! simul O ! juncti potcramus viverc nos trcs 
Quam bene, si fatum rcligiocjuc siiiaiit ! 

At socict tumulus, societ nos obsccro ccelum ! 
Sic mors, non potuit quod dare vita, dabit. 

Tbomas More, 

Bora in the city of London, of no distinguished but of an honest family, 

Somewiiat of a proficient in literature, 

When, in iiis youtli he luid pleaded at the bar some years 

And discharged the olhce of under-slieriff in that city 

He, by the redoubted king Henry VIH 

(To whom alone of kings accrued the glory, before unknown, 

Of being deservedly entitled 


As indeed he provetl himself by the sword as well as the pen,) 
Was ciilied to court 
Chosen a privy-counsellor, knighted, and made 
Sub-treasurer, chancellor of Lancaster, and chancellor of England 
In succession, by his king's great kindness. 
]Mcantimc he was chosen speaker of the commons 
And appointed ambas-sador to various courts ; 
Last of all to Cambray, 
Being associated with Cuthbert Tonstall, the chief of that embassy. 
Then bishop of London and since of Durham, 
A man than whom the world can scarcely boast one more learned, wiser, or better. 
There he had the pleasure to see and to negociate 
The renewal of the leagues bitwcen the chief princes of Christendom 
And the restoration to the world of long, wished- for peace. 
Which jxace may heaven confirm and long preserve! 
When he had so acquitted himself in these duties and Iionours, 
That neither could his good king arraign his conduct 
Nor the peers or commons disapprove, 
Though he had been severe to thieves, murderers, and heretics, 


At length his father, Sir John More, 

Appointed by his majesty a judge of the king's-beiich, 

A man of courtcousand pleasant manners, harmless, gentle, full of compassion, just and uncorrupT, 

Old indeed in years, yet fresh for his age in bodily strength, 

After living to see his son chancellor of England, 

Thinking he had tarried long enough on earth, 

' Passed willingly to heaven. 

The son, on the death of his father, 

Compared to whom, while he lived, he was called a young man, 

And indeed seemed so to himself, 

Wanting now his best parent 

And beholding four children of his own and eleven grandchildren, 

Began to fancy himself growing old. 

And this fancy was strengthened 

By the immediate succession of a disorder in his breast, 

A symptom as it were of approaching age. 

Having then tasted plentifully of this world's pursuits, 

The thing which he had wished for from a boy. 

That he might enjoy some of his last years free, 

And withdrawing himself by degrees from tliis life's business 

Might have leisure to meditate on his future immortality. 

That thing at last (if God approve) 

By the incomparable kindness of his most indulgent king, 

Having resigned his honours, he hatii obtained. 

And he hath erected this monument, 

Having removed hither the remains of his first wife, 

As a constant memorial of his ever-approaching deatli. 

That he may not have done this in vain while yet he lived, 

That he dread not the approach of death. 

But meet it cheerfully from the love of Christ, 

And that he find death not his extinction 

But the entrance of a happier existence. 

Do thou good reader assist him with thy pious prayers 

As well now while he liveth as after his decea:>e. 


Here lies ray Jane, dear wife of Thomas More, 

And here my Alice and myself »oulJ Ue « 
Tlucc girls, a boy, my Jane her pailuer bore, 

M'ith rarest !>tep«.laiues may my Alic« vie. 
Sj bless'd the Oral my jouthful ycius . ith love, 

So sooths the sccoud my matiuer day, 
Each seems in viun superior \vortb to prove 

For each divides my heart with equal sway. 
Religion's laws had they allow'd, or lu,tc, 

Here brac'd in triple concord could we live ; 
(■'rant grave, grant lieavcn that bless'd united stale, 

And death all'ord wUiit lilt; couJkl uever give I 

To the elegant pen of tlie Reverend Francis AVrangham 
the reader is indebted lor the following additional translation 
of the verses. 

Within this tomb Jane, wife of More, reclines : 
This, More for Alice and himself designs. 
The first, dear object of my youthful vow, 
Gave me three daughters and a son to know ; 
The next, — ah ! virtue in a stepdamc rare ! 
Nursed my sweet infants with a mother's care. 
With both my years so happily have past. 
Which most my love, I know not — first, or last. 
O ! had religion, destiny allow'd. 
How smoothly, raix'd, had our three fortunes flowed! 
But be we in the tomb, in heaven allietl : 
So kinder death shall grant, what life denied. 

More had now for some years made Chelsea the place 
of his abode. No less than four houses in that parish have 

SIR T. MORE. 135 

laid claim to the honour of liis residence ; of whicli, that 
subsequently belonging to Sir Robert Cecil, and more re- 
cently called Beaufort House, appears to have the best 
pretension. * A good distance from his house,' says Mr. 
Rojicr, ' builded he a place called the New-building, where- 
in Vv^as a chapel, a library, and a gallery.' Mr. More adds, 
that Sir Thomas built a chapel or chancel in Chelsea-church 
and furnished it liberally with plate, &c. saying, good men 
give it and bad men take it arcay. This is said to have 
been the south chancel ; in the east Avindow of which, his 
arms remained until it was repaired about eighty years 
ago. lie also hired a house for the aged, in this parish, 
and supported them ; delegating to his favourite daughter, 
Margaret, the office of seeing that their wants were sup- 

Before we leave this period of More's chancellorship, it 
will be proper to advert to the allegation made, of his fu- 
rious zeal while in office in persecuting heterodoxy. 

Of our martyrologist Fox, it hath been justly said, that 
neither his facts nor his temper are to be relied upon. His 
relations of More are, however, followed by Burnet and 
Strype ; and Mr. Hume, in a later day, following these au- 
thorities, hath told us that Sir Thomas, though adorned 
with the gentlest manners and the purest integrit}^ carried 
to the utmost height his aversion to heterodoxy. Tiiis man, 
saith the historian, whose elegant genhis and familiar ac- 

* More, 


quuintance with tlie noble spirit of antiquity liad given him 
vei ;v enJargcd .sailinicnts, anil who had in his early years 
advanced principles wlucli even at i)resent would \)C deeni- 
I'd somewhat too free, had in the course ot" events been so 
irritated by polemics, and thrown into such a supersitious 
aitaciunent to the ancient faith, that few inquisitors have 
been guilty of greater violence in their persecution of heresy. 

Zeal lor religion hath, it is true, been able in many in- 
stances to render the sweetest dispositions ferocious, nay, 
to inake man worse by grace than he was by nature ; and 
the religion in which More had been educated, the igno- 
rance and superstition, witli the usual progress ot" men's 
sentiments, during the age in which he lived, might, had 
lie not himself given the lie to these calumnies, have been 
adduced at this day in extenuation of his conduct. There 
\\ere moreover so many of corrupt minds and evil prin- 
ciples, who abused the reformation to serve their own vilest 
purposes, that it is not to be wondered at if More, as well 
as others, entertained strong prejudices against it. Germany 
was a scene of uproar, the commonalty acting as if all was 
their own, and plundering whoever they pleased. Who 
l<nows not, exclaims the good Erasmus, how many light 
and seditious ones are ready, on this pretence of reforma- 
tion, to break loose in every kind of crime, had not the 
severity of power restrained their temerity ? Were it not for 
this check, the pseudo-gospellers had long since broken 
into the cellars and cabinets of the rich, and every one 
would have proved a papist who had any thing to lose. 

SIR T. MORE. 137 

But what Avill a candid reader require from a man of 
Mere's acknowledged integrity, stronger tlian the following 
curious assertions in his own behalf, to be found in the 
36^^ chapter of his Apology, printed in his English works ? 
with which we will conclude the present chapter, for they 
seem to need no comment. 

' The lies are neither few nor small, which many of the 
blessed brethren have made, and daily yet make by me. 
Divers of them liave said, that, of such as were in my house 
while I was chancellor, I used to examine them with tor- 
ments, causing them to be bounden to a tree in my garden 
and there piteously beaten. And this tale had some of 
those good brethren so caused to be blown about, that a 
right-worshipful friend of mine did of late, within less than 
this fortnight, tell unto another near friend of mine, that 
he had of late heard much speaking thereof. 

' AVhat cannot these brethren say who can be so shame- 
less to say thus? For, of very truth, albeit that for a great 
robbery, or an heinous murder, or sacrilege in a church, 
with carrying away the pix with the blessed sacrament, or 
villanously casting it out, I caused sometimes such things 
to be done by some officers of the Marshalsea, or of some 

other prisons with which ordering of them, by their 

well deserved pain, and without any great hurt that after- 
ward should stick by them, I found-out and repressed 
many such desperate wretches as else had not failed to have 
gone farther abroad, and to have done to many good folk 

Vol. I. T 


a great deal much more liarm vet thousli I so did in 

thieves, nmrderers, and robbers of churches, and notwith- 
standing also that heretics be yet much worse than all they, 
yet, saving only their sure keeping, I never did else cause 
any such thing to be done to any of them all, in aJl my 
life, except only tvpain. 

* Of which the one was a child, and a servant of mine in 
mine own house ; whom his father had, ere ever he came 
with me, nursed-up in such matters, and had set him to 

attend upon George Jay This George Jay did teach 

this child his ungracious heresy against the blessed sacra- 
ment of the altar. Which heresy, this child afterward, be- 
ing in service with me, began to teach another child in my 
house, who uttered his counsel. And, upon that point per- 
ceived and known, I caused a servant of mine to stripe 
him, like a child, before mine household, for amendment 
of himself and example of such other. 

' Another was one, who after that he had fallen into 
those fiantic heresies, fell soon after into plain open frenzy 
beside. And albeit that he had therefore been put-up in 
Bedlam, and afterward, by beating and correction, gather- 
ed his remembrance to him and began to come again to 
himself, being thereupon set at liberty, and walking about 
abroad, his old fancies began to fall again in his head. And 
I was from divers good holy places advertised, that he used, 
in his wandering about, to come into the church, and there 
make many mad toys and tritles, to the trouble of good 

SIR T. MORE. 139 

people in the divine service. And specially would he be 
most busy in the time of most silence, while the priest was 
at the secrets of the mass. And if he spied any woman 
kneeling at a form, if her head hung anything low in her 
meditations, then would he steal lx;hind her, and if he were 
not letted, would labour to lift-up all her clothes and cast 
them quite over her head. 

* Whereupon, I being advertised of these pageants, and 
being sent unto and required by very devout, religious folk, 
to take some other order with him, caused him, as he came 
wandering by my door, to be taken by the constables and 
bounden to a tree in the street, before the whole town ; 
and there they striped him with rods therefore, till he Avax- 
ed weary, and somewhat longer. And it appeared well 
that his remembrance was good enough, save that it went 
about in grazing till it Avas beaten home. For he could 
then very well rehearse his faults himself, and speak and 
treat very well, and promise to do afterward as well. And 
verily, God be thanked ! I hear none harm of him now. 

' And of all who ever came in my hand for heresy, as 
help me God ! saving, as I said, the sure keeping of them 
(and yet not so sure neither, but that George Constantine 
could steal away), else had never any of them any stripe 
or stroke given them, so much as a fillip on the forehead. 


140 MEarOIRS OF 

* And now dare I say, that if tliis pacifier had by expe- 
rience known the truth of that kind of people, he avouUI 
not have given so much credence to their lamentable com- 
plainings Howbeit, what faith my ^vords will have with 

him, in these mine own causes, 1 can not very surely say ; 
nor yet very greatly care. iVnd yet stand I not in so much 
doubt of myself, but that I trust well, that among many 
good and honest men (among which sort of folk I trust I 
may reckon him), mine own word would alone, even in 
mine own cause, be somewhat better believed, than would 
the oaths ot some twain of this new brotherhood in a mat- 
ter of another man/ 

SIR T. MORE. 141 


More*s anticipation of his fate. . . . He tvithdraws from public business. 
.... His remark on Henry's second marriage, and advice to Crom- 
tvell. , . . His behaviour to the bishops. . . . Malignant scrutiny on his 
conduct. . . . The nun of Kent. . . . More's letter to Cromwell, and a 
curious anecdote. . . . More accused of misprision of treason. . . . Con- 
duct of the committee for examining him. . . . More's firmness. . . . 
His letter to the king. . . . He is accused of ingratitude. . . . His re- 
ply. . . . Anecdote on his return home. . . . The king's conduct. , . . 
More's name erased from the bill. . . . Acts passed in parliament. . . . 
Henry's triumph in his new titles. . . . Opinions of the Romish party, 
and of their adversaries. . . . More refuselh the oath of succession. . . . 
He is cited to appear at Lambeth. . . . His foreboding, and letter to 
his daughter. . . . Cranmer's argument, and his curious letter. . . . 
More and Fisher committed to the Tower, ajid attainted. . . . More's 
sentiments on the king's marriage, and the pope's primacy. 

XI IS voluntary resignation of this world's dignity was the 
signal for More's rapid declension from his high elevation, 
to the lowest point of this world's miserj^ ; and, his ac- 
quaintance with Henry's character enabled him to anticipate 
the troubles of his latter days long before their event. 


' He would talk,' sijys Mr. Kopcr, ' unto his wife and 
children of the joys of heaven and pains of hell, of the 
lires of holy martyrs, of their grievous martyrdoms, of their 
marvellous patience, and of their passions and deaths ; 
■which they sutiered rather than they would offend God. 
And what a happy and blessed thing it was, for the love of 
God to sutler the loss of goods, imprisonment, loss of lands, 
and life also. — Wherewith, and the like virtuous talk, he 
had so long before his trouble encouraged them, that when 
he afterward fell into trouble indeed, liis trouble was to 
them a great deal the less/ 

When he resigned his office, More withdrew his attention 
entirely from public affairs, and devoted himself to prayer 
and to his writings. He lessened his establishment, sold a 
part of his effects, and sent his children to their own houses. 
He is said to have passed many sleepless nights in the an- 
ticipation of his fate, and to have prayed with fervour for 
courage under it, — for his flesh, he said, could not endure a 
Jillip. He once went so far as to hire a pursuivant to come 
on a sudden at dinner-tinie to his house, and, knocking 
hastily at the door, to summon him before the council the 
next day. This was to prepare his family for what they 
had to expect.*' 

AVhen the king married Ann Boleyn, Cod give grace son, 
said Sir Thomas to Mr. Roper, that these matters within a 
zihile be not conjinned with oaths. 

* More. 

SIR T. MORE. 143 

One day when Thomas Cromwell came to him at Chelsea 
with a message from the king. More said to him, ' Mr. 
Cromwell you are now entered into the service of a most 
noble, wise, and liberal prince. If you will follow my poor 
advice, you shall in your counsel-giving to his grace, ever 
tell him what he ought to do, but never what he is able to 
do ; so shall you shew yourself a true, faithful servant, and 
a right Avorthy counsellor. For, if a lion knew his own 
strength, hard were it for any man to rule him.'* More's 
great-grandson adds, that Cromwell never learned this les- 
son, for he advised Henry as he thought would please him. 

Shortly before the new queen's coronation, More receiv- 
ed a letter from the bishops of Durham, Bath, and Win- 
chester, requesting him to keep them company from the 
Tower to the coronation at Westminster, and to accept of 
£20 which they sent at the same time to buy him a gown. 
More received the money but remained at home, and told 
their lordships when he saw them, that as he had complied 
with one of their requests, he was the bolder in refusing the 

Their conduct, he added, put him in mind of an em- 
peror who made a law, that whoever committed a certain 
offence, unless the offender was a virgin, should suffer death. 
Now it happened that the first offender was a virgin, and 
the emperor was in some perplexity how to act, for he wish- 
ed to enforce his law. When his council had debated the 

* Roper. 


matter for sonic time, a good, plain man arose and said, 
Avhy make ye so much ado my lords about so small a mat- 
ter? — let her be first deflowered and thereafter may she be 
devoured. ' And so though your lordships,' continued the 
knight, ' have in the matter of the matrimony hitherto 
kept yourselves pure virgins, yet take good heed my lords 
that ye keep your virginity still. For some there be who, 
by procuring your lordships first at the coronation to be 
present, and next to preach. for the setting-forth of it, and 
finally to write books to all the world in defence thereof, 
are desirous to deflower ye ; and when they have deflower- 
ed ye, then will they not fail soon after to devour ye. Now, 
my lords, it lieth not in my power but that they may de- 
vour me, but, God being my good Lord, I will so provide 
that they shall never deflower me.' * 

It hath been conjectured that these words were reported 
to the queen, and that she incensed her consort against 
More. But it is perhaps more probable, that considering 
his great weight and influence in the .kingdom, and per- 
ceiving that no persuasions were likely to move the knight 
to favour the divorce, the bad part of Henry's disposition 
began now to prevail, and that he determined to adopt 
harsher measures against More, which led in the end to one 
of the deepest stains in his reign. 

At least malignant sciiitiny appears from this time to 
have been exercised with diligence, in discovering some 

• Roper* 

SIR T. RIORE. 145 

ground of accusation against him. In his English works is 
preserved a letter from More to Thomas Cromwell, vindi- 
cating himself against a false report which had been circu- 
lated, that he had written an answer to the king's justifica- 
tion of his appeal from the pope. But Elizabeth Barton, 
commonly called the Holy maid of Kent, her ravings and 
revelations, soon atibrded the enemies of More a fairer oc- 
casion for the exercise of their malignity. A curious letter 
from More to Cromwell, which throws the strongest lio-ht 
upon this subject, and which was probably written for the 
king's eye, hath been preserved, and is here presented to 
the reader as aflbrding an authentic history of the transac- 

Sir Thomas More to Mr. Thomas Cromwell. 

Righ t Worsli i p ful , 

• After m}' most hearty recommendation, with like thanks 
for your goodness in accepting of my rude long letter, — I 
perceive that of your farther goodness and favour toward 
me, it liked your mastership to break with my son Roper, 
of that that I had had communication, not only with divers 
who were of ac(iuaintance with the lewd nun of Canterbury, 
but also with herself; aud had over that, by my writing 
declaring favour toward her, given her advice and counsel. 
Of which my demeanor, that it liketh you to be content to 
take the labour and the pain to hear, by mine own writing, 
the truth, I very heartily thank you, and reckon myself 
therein right deeply beholden to you. 

Vol. I. U 

14(5 ME^rOIRS OF 

' It is, I suppose, about eight or nine years ago since I 
heard of that housewife first. At which time the bishop of 
Canterbury that then ^\as (God absolve his soul !) sent unto 
the king's grace a roll of paper, in whicii were wiitten cer- 
tain words of hei*s, which slie had, as report was then made, 
at sundry times spoken in her trances. Whcreu])on it pleased 
the king's grace to deliver me the roll, commanding me to 
look thereon and afterward shew him what 1 thought tiiere- 
in. AVhereunto at another time, when his highness asked 
me, I told him, that in good faith I found nothing in those 
Words that I could anything regard or esteem. For, seeing 
that some part fell in rhythm, and that God wots full rude 
also ! for any reason God wots ! that I saw therein, a right 
smiple woman might, in my mind, speak it of her own 
wit well enough. Ilowbcit, I said, that because it was 
constantly reported ibr a truth that God wrought in hcr^ 
and that a miracle was shewed upon her, I durst not, nor 
would not be bold in judging the matter. And tlie king's 
grace, as melhought esteemed the matter as light, as it al- 
ter proved lewd. 

' From that time till about christmas was twelvemonth, 
albeit that continually there was much talking of her and of 
her holiness, yet never heard I any talk rehearsed either of 
revelation of hers or miracle ; saving that I heard say, divers 
times, in my lord cardinal's days, that she had been both 
with his lordship and with the king's grace. But what she 
said, either to the one or to the other, upon my faith I had 
never heard any one word. 


' Now, as I wa3 about to tell you, about Christmas was 
twelvemonth, father Risby, friar observant, then of Can- 
terbur}', lodged one night at my house. Where, after sup- 
per, a little before he went to his chamber, he fell in com- 
munication with me of the nun; giving her high commenda- 
tion of holiness, and that it was wonderful to see and un- 
dersand the works which God wrought in her. Which thino", 
I answered, that I was very glad to hear it, and thanked 
God thereof. Then he told me that she had been with my 
lord legate in his life, and with the king's grace too. And 
that she had told my lord legate a revelation of hers, of 
three swords which God had put in my lord legate's hand ; 
which if he ordered not well, God would lay it sore to his 
charge. The first, she said, was the ordering the spirituality 
under the pope as legate ; the second, the rule that he bore 
in order of the temporality under the king as his chancellor; 
and the third, she said, was the meddling he was put in 
trust with by the king, concerning the great matter of his 
marriage. And therewithal I said unto him, that any re- 
velation of the king's matters I would not hear of; I doubt- 
ed not but the goodness of God should direct his hiohness 
with his grace and wisdom, that the thing should take such 
end as God should be pleased with, to the king's honour 
and surety of the realm. When he heard me say these 
words or the like, he said unto me, that God had specially 
conmianded her to pray for the king. And forthwith he 
brake again into her revelations concerning the cardinal, — - 
that his soul was saved by her mediation ; and without any 
other communication, went unto his chamber. And he 

U 2 


and I never talked any more of any such manner of mat- 
ter. Nor, since his departing on the morrow, I never saw 
him after, to my remembrance, till I saw him at Paul's 

* After this, about shrovetide, there came unto me, a 
little before supper, father ivich, friar observant of Rich- 
mond. And as we fell in talking, I asked him of father 
Risby how he did .'' And upon that occasion he asked me, 
whether father Risby had any thing shewed me of the holy 
nun of Kent. And 1 said yea, and that I was very glad to 
hear of her virtue. / would not, quoth he, tell you again 
that you have heard of him already ; but I have heard and 
known many great graces which God hath wrought in her^ 
and in other folk by her, which I zeould gladly tell you if I 
thought you had not heard them already. And therewith he 
asked me, whether father Risby had told me any thing of 
her being with my lord cardinal? And I said j/ea. Then 
he told you, quoth he, of the three swords. Yea verilyy 
quoth I. Did he tell yon, quoth he, of the revelations which 
she had concerning the king's grace? Nay forsooth, quoth I,, 
nor if he would have done, I would not have given him the 
hearing; nor verily no more I would indeed ; for since she 
hath been with the king*s grace herself and told him, me- 
thought it a thing needless to tell me or to any man else. 
And when father Rich perceived that 1 would not hear her 
revelations concerning the king's grace, he talked on a little 
of her virtue, and let her revelations alone. And thercAvith 
my supper was set upon the board, where I required liim 


to sit with me ; but he would in nowise tarry, but departed 
to London. 

* After that night I talked with him twice ; once in mine 
own house, another time in his own garden at the friars. 
At every time a great space, but not of any revelations 
touching the king's grace ; but only of other mean folk I 
know not whom, of which things some were very strange 
and some were very childish. But albeit that he said he 
had seen her lie in her trance in great pains, and that he 
had at other times taken great spiritual comfort in her com- 
munication, yet did he never tell me that she had told him 
those tales herself. For if he had, I would for the talc o. 
Mary Magdalen which he told me, and for the tale of the 
host with which, as I have heard, she said she was houseled 
at the king's mass at Calais, if I had heard it of him as told 
unto himself by her mouth for a revelation, I would have 
both liked him and her the worse. But whether ever I heard 
the same tale of Rich or of Risby, or of neither of them 
both, but of some other man since she was in hold, in good 
faith I cannot tell. But I wot well when or wheresoever I 
heard it, methought it a tale too marvellous to be true ; 
and very likely that she had told some man her dream who 
told it out for a revelation. And in effect I little doubted, 
but that some of these tales which were told of her Avere 
untrue. But yet, since I never heard them reported as 
spoken by her own mouth, I thought nevertheless that many 
of them might be true, and she a very virtuous woman too. 
As some lies be peradventure written of some who be saints 


in heaven, and yet many nuracles indeed done by them for 
all that. 

* After this, I being upon a day at Sion, and talking 
■with divers of the fathers together at the grate, they shewed 
me that she had been with them, and slieweti me divers 
thing's which some of them mishkcd in her. And in this 
talking, they wished that 1 had spoken with her, and said 
they would fain see how 1 should like her. Whereupon, 
afterward when I heard that she was there again, I came 
thither to see her and to speak with her myself At which 
communication, had in a little chapel, there were none pre- 
sent but we two. In the be^innins: whereof I shewed, that 

OCT ■' 

my coming to her was not of any curious mind anything 
to know, of such things as folk talked that it pleased God 
to reveal and shew unto her. But for the great virtue which 
I had heard so many years, every day more and more, 
spoken and reported of her, I therefore had a great mind 
to sec her and be accjuaintcd with her, that she nnght have 
somewhat the more occasion to remember me to God in her 
devotion and prayers, M heieunto she gave me a very good, 
virtuous answer ; that, as God did of his goodness far bet- 
ter by her than she a poor wretch was worthy, so she fear- 
ed that many Iblk yet beside that spoke, of their own fa- 
vourable minds, many things for her lar above the trutii. 
And that of me she had many such things heard, that al- 
ready she jjrayed for me and ever would. ^V hereof I hearti- 
ly thanked lier. 

SIR T. MORE. 151 

f * I said unto her, Madam, one Hellen, a maiden dusdling 
about Tottenham, of lohose trances and revelations there hath 
been much talking, she hath been with me of late, and shewed 
me that she zaas with you; and that, after the rehearsal of such 
xnsions as she had seeti, you shewed her that they were no re- 
velations, but plain illusions of the devil, and advised her to 
cast them out of her mind. And verily she gave therein good 
credence zinto you, and thereupon hath left to lean any longer 
unto such visions of her own. Ji hereupon she saith, shefnd- 
eth your words true ; for ever since, she hath been the less 
visited with such things as she was wont to be before. To 
this she answered me, — Forsooth sir, there is in this point 
no praise unto me, but the goodness of God as it appeareth 
hath wrought much meekness in her soul, which hath taken 
my rude warning so well and not grudged to hear her spirit 
and her visions reproved. I liked her in good laith better 
for this answer, than for many of these things that 1 heard 
reported by her. Afterward she told me upon that occa- 
sion, how great need folk have who are visited with such 
visions, to take heed and prove well of what spirit they 
come of. And in that communication she told me, that of 
late the devil, in likeness of a bird, was flying and flutter- 
ing about her in a chamber, and suffered himself to be 
taken. And being in hands, suddenly changed in their 
sight who were present, into such a strange ugly-fashioned 
bird, that they were all afraid and threw him out at a win- 

' For conclusion we talked no word of the king's 


grace or any great personage else, nor in effect of any man 
or woman but of herself anil myself". Jkit after no long 
connnunication had (for ere ever we met my time came to 
go home), I gave her a double-ckicat, and prayed her to 
pray for me and mine, and so departed from her and never 
spake witli her after. Ilowbcit, of a truth, I had a great 
good opinion of her and had her in great estimation, as 
you shall perceive by the letter which 1 wrote unto her. 
For afterward — because I had often heard that many n^i^ht 
woishipful folks, as well men as women, used to have much 
communication with her ; and many folk are of nature in- 
quisitive and curious, whereby they fall sometimes into such 
talking, that better were it to forbear, of which thing I no- 
thing thought while I talked with her of charity there- 
fore I wrote her a letter thereof. Wliich, since it may be 
peradventure thai she brake or lost, I shall insert the very 
copy tiiereof in this present letter. These were the very 
-words ; 

Good Madam and my right dearhj-hdoved 
lister in our Lord God ! 

' i\fter most hearty commendation, I shall beseech you 
to take my good mind in good worth ; and pardon me that 
I am so homely, as of myself, unrequired, and also with- 
out necessity , to give counsel to you ; of whon), for the 
good inspirations and great revelations, which it liketh Al- 
mighty God of his goodness to give and shew (as many wise, 
well-learned, and very virtuous folk testify), 1 myself have 
need, for the comfort of my soul, to require and ask ad- 

SIR T. MORE. 153 

vice. For surely, good madam, since it pleaseth God some- 
times to suffer such as are far under, and of little estimation, 
to give yet fruitful advertisement to such others as are in 
the light of the spirit so far above them, that there were 
between them no comparison (as he suffered his high pro- 
phet Moses to be in some things advised and counselled by 
Jethro), I cannot, for the love which in our Lord I bear 
3'ou, refrain to put you in remembrance of one thing, which 
in my poor mind I think highly necessary to be by your 
wisdom considered, referring the end and the order thereof 
to God and his holy spirit to direct you. Good madam I 
doubt not but that vou remember, that in the begfinnino; of 
my communication with you, I shewed you that I neither 
was nor would be curious, of any knowledge of other men's 
matters. And least of all of any matter of princes or of 
the realm. In case it so were that God had, as to many 
good folks beforetime he hath, any time revealed unto 
you such things, I said unto your ludyship that I Avas not 
only not desirous to hear of, but also mould not hear of 

' Now madam I consider well, that many folk desire to 
speak with you, who are not all peradventure of my mind 
in this point. But some hap to be curious and inquisitive 
of things which little pertain unto their parts ; and some 
might peradventure hap to talk of such things as might 
peradventure afterward turn to much harm. As I think 
you have heard how the late duke of Buckiuiiham Avas 
moved with the fame of one who was reported for an holy 

Vol. I. X 


monk, and had such talking with hun as attcrward was it 
great piirt of liis destruction and disheriting of liis bloody 
and great slander and infamy of religion. It sulUceth me, 
good madam, to put you in rememhrance of such things. 
As I nothing doubt, your wisdom and the spirit of God 
shall keep you from talking with any person (s[x;cially with 
high persons), of any such manner of things as pertain to 
prince's aflairs, or the state of the realm. But only to com- 
mune and talk with any person, high and low, of such man- 
ner of things, as may to the soul be profitiible for you to 
shew, and for them to know. 

* And thus, my good lady and dearly-beloved sister in 
our Lord, I make an end of this my needless advertise- 
ment unto you : AVhom the blessed Trinity preserve and 
increase in grace ; and put in your mind, to recommend 
me and mine unto him in your devout prayers. At Chel- 
sea, this Tuesday, by the hand of 

Your heart3'-loving brother and bedesman, 


' At the receipt of this letter, she answered my servant, 
that she heartily thanked me. Soon after this, there came 
to mine house, the prior of the charterhouse at Shene, 
and one Brother Williams with him. Who nothing talked 
to me, but of her and of the great joy that they took in 
her virtue ; but of any of her revelations they had no com- 
munication But at another time Brother AVilliams came 

SIR T. MORE. 155 

to me and told me a long tale, of her being at the house 
of a knight in Kent who was sore-troubled with temptations 
to destroy himself. And none other thing we talked of, 
nor should have done of likelihood though we had tarried 
together much longer, he took so great pleasure, good man ! 
to tell the tale with all the circumstances at length. 

' "When I came again another day to Sion, on a day in 
which there was a profession, some of the fathers asked mc 
how I liked the nun ? And 1 answered, that in good faith I 
liked her very well in her talking ; howbeit, quoth I, she is 
never the nearer tried by that : For I assure ye, she zvere 
likely to he very bad, if she seemed good, ere I should think 
her other, till she happened to he proved naught. And in 
good faith that is my manner mdeed, except I were set to 
search and examine the truth upon likelihood of some cloak- 
ed evil. For in that case, although I nothing suspected 
the person myself, yet, no less than if I suspected him sore, 
I would, as far as my wit would serve me, search to find 
out the truth ; as yourself hath done very prudently in this 
matter. Wherein you have done, in my mind to your great 
laud and praise, a ver}"^ meritorious deed, in briuging-forth 
to light such detestable hypocrisy. Whereby every other 
wretch may take warning, and be feared to set-forth their 
own devilish-dissembled falsehood, under the manner and 
colour of the wonderful work of God. For verily this wo- 
man so handled herself with help of that evil spirit who in- 
spired her, that, after her own confession declared at Paul's- 
cross, when I sent word by my servant unto the prior of 

X 2 


tlie cliaiterhousc that slic Avas undoubtedly proved a false, 
deceiving hypocrite, the good man had had so good opi-r 
uion of her so long, that he could at the first scantly believe 
me therein. Ilowbeit, it was not he alone wiio thouo;ht 
her so very good, but many another right good man beside; 
as little marvel was, upon so good report, till she was prov- 
ed naught/ 

A curious anecdote attends this letter. When INIore's 
English works were printed by order of queen Mar\', this 
letter was concealed, though not destroyed. It was resolved, 
it seems, to raise the credit of the nun's story, who, being 
acknowledged a martyr as well as a prophetess, might per- 
haps have obtained canonization ; and it was judged im- 
prudent, no doubt, to leave so high a tcstiiuony as this from 
More in her way. 

1534. The session of parliament holden early in 1534, passed 
an act of attainder against some who were engaged in this 
imposture. Elizabeth herself, and several others, suffered 
for their crime; while Fisher and others were condemned 
for misprision of treason, because they had not discovered 
what they heard from Elizabeth. 

More's name was at first included in the latter bill, and 

t Burnet ex M-S.S. Norfolc. 

SIR T. MORE. ]57 

Mr. Roper informs us that the knight soHcited to be him- 
self heard by the king in his own defence. Henry, how- 
ever, appointed the archbishop of Canterbury, the chan- 
cellor, the duke of Norfolk and Cromwell to examine him ; 
and when Mr. Roper advised More with anxiety to use his 
interest with these commissioners to obtain his discharge 
from the bill, he answered he would. 

The committee, however, soon threw-off the mask, and 
proved plainly enough by their proceedings, that the atfair 
of the nun was merely a hand/e on this occasion. For in- 
stead of insisting on that point, the chancellor began by 
recapitulating to More the king's favours, adding, that he 
could ask no worldly promotion which Avould be denied 
him, and hoping, in conclusion, that this view of his ma- 
jesty's affection toward him, would induce the knight to re- 
compence the king in his turn, and to add his consent to 
what the parliament, the bishops, and the universities had al- 
ready passed. 

More, continues Mr. Roper, mildly replied, — ' No man 
living is there my lords, who would with better will do the 
thing which should be acceptable to the king's highness, 
than I ; who must needs confess, his manifold . goodness 
and bountiful benefits, most liberally bestowed on me. 
Howbeit I verily hoped, I should never have heard of this 
matter more ; considering that I have from time to time, 
alway from the beginning, so plainly and truly declared my 
mind unto his grace, which iiis highness ever seemed to me. 


like a most gracious prince, very well to accept, never mind- 
ing, as he said, to molest me more therewith. Since which 
time, any farther thing which was able to move me to any 
change could I never find. And if I could, there is none 
in all the world who would have been gladder of it than 1/ 

The knight had likewise addressed to his majesty the fol- 
lowing letter relative to the atfair of the nun ; in which it 
seemeth that he thought it advisable to hold his king in re- 
membrance of what his majest}' had formerly promised as 
to the knight's honour. 


Sir Thomas More to King Henri/ VIII. 

* It may like your highness to call to your gracious re- 
membrance, that at such time as, of the great weighty 
room and office of your clianccUor (with which, so far above 
my merits or qualities able and meet therefore, your high- 
ness had of your incomparable goodness honoured and ex- 
alted me), you were so good and gracious unto me, as at 
my poor humble suit to discharge and disburden me, giving 
me licence with your gracious favour, to bestow the residue 
of my life to come about the provision for my soul in the 
service of God, and to be your bedesman and pray for 

you it pleased your highness farther to say unto me, 

that for the service which 1 before had done you (which it 
then liked your goodness far above my deserving to com- 
mend), that in any suit which I should after have to your 
grace, which either should concern mine honour (the word 


it liked your highness to use unto mc), or tluit sliould per- 
tain unto my profit, I should find your highness a good and 
gracious lord unto me. 

* So is it now, gracious sovereign, that worldly honour is 
the thing whereof I have resigned both the possession and 
the desire, in the resignation of your most honourable of- 
fice. And worldly profit, I trust experience proveth, and 
daily more and more shall prove, that I never was very 
greedy thereof. 

' But now is my most humble suit unto your excellent 
highness, to beseech the same somewhat to tender my poor 
honesty. Howbeit principally, that of your accustomed 
goodness, no sinister information move your noble grace, 
to have any more distmst of my truth and devotion toward 
you, than I have or shall during my life give cause. For 
in this matter of the nun of Canterbury, I have unto your 
trusty counsellor Mr. Thomas Cromwell, b}' my writing, as 
plainly declared the truth as I possibly can. Which my de- 
claration, of his duty toward your grace and his goodness 
toward me, he hath, I understand, declared unto your grace. 
In any part of all which my dealing, whether any other 
man may peradventure put any doubt or move any scruple 
of suspicion, that can I neither tell, nor lieth it in my 
hand to let. But unto myself it is not possible any part 
of my said demeanour to seem evil, the very clearness of 
mine own conscience knoweth in all that matter my mind 
and intent so good. 

160 MEMOIRS or 

* Wherefore, most gracious sovereign, I neither will, nor 
yet can it well become mo, with your highness to reason 
or argue that matter; but in my most humble manner, 
prostrate at your gracious feet, I only beseech your grace, 
•with your own high prudence and 3'our accustomed good- 
ness, consider and weigh the matter. And if that in your 
so doing, your osvi virtuous mind shall give you, that not- 
■withstanding the manifold and excellent goodness that your 
gracious highness hath by so many manner of ways used 
imto me, I were a wretch of such a monstrous ingratitude, 
as could with any of them all, or any other person living, 
digress from my bounden duty of allegiance toward 3'our 
good grace, then desire I no farther favour at your gracious 
hand, than the loss of all that ever I may lose, goods, lands, 
liberty, and fmally my life withal, ^\'he^eof the keeping 
of any part unto myself could never do me a pennyworth 
of pleasure ; but only should my comfort be, that after my 
short life and 3'our long (which, with continual prosperity 
to God's pleasure, our Lord of his mercy send you !), I should 
once meet your grace again in heaven, and there be merr^' 
with you. Where among mine other pleasures, this should 
yet be one ; that your grace should surely see there then, 
that howsoever you take me, I am your true bedeman now, 
and ever have been, and will be till I die, howsoever your 
pleasure be to do by me. 

* Howbeit, if in the considering of my cause, your high 
wisdom and gracious goodness perceive (as I verily trust in 
God you shall), that I none otherwise have demeaned my- 


self than well may stand with my bounden duty of faith- 
fulness toward your royal majesty; then in my most humble 
wise I beseech 3'our most noble grace, that the .knowledge 
of your true gracious persuasion in that behalf may relieve 
the torment of my present heaviness (conceived of the dread 
and fear, by that I hear such a grievous bill put by your 
learned counsel into your high court of parliament against 
me) — lest your grace might, by some sinister information, 
be moved any thing to think the contrary. 

' Which if your highness do not, as I trust in God and 
your great goodness, the matter by your own high prudence 
examined and considered, you will not ; then in my most 

humble manner I beseech your highness farther albeit 

that in respect of my former request this other thing is 
very slight ; yet since your highness hath herebefore, of 
your more abundant goodness, heaped and accumulated 
upon me, though I was thereto far unworthy, from time to 
time, both worship and great honour too ; since I now have 
left all such things, and nothing seek or desire but the life 

to come, and pray for your grace the while it may like 

' your highness of your accustomed benignity, somewhat to 
tender my poor honesty ; and never suffer, by the mean of 
such a bill put-forth against me, any man to take occasion 
hereafter against the truth to slander me. Who should yet, 
by the peril of their own souls, do themselves more hurt 
than me; who shall, I trust, settle ray heart, with your 
gracious favour, to depend upon the comfort of the truth 

Vol. I. Y 


aiul liojie of heaven, and not upon the fallible opinion, or 
soon-spokon words, of light and soon-changeable people. 

' And thus, most dread and most dear sovereign lord, I 
beseech the blessed 'IVinity preserve your most noble grace 
both body and soul, and all who arc your Avell-willers, and 
amend all the contrary. Among whom, if ever I be, or 
ever have been one, then pray I God, that he may with 
mine open shame and destruction declare it.' * 

When the committee found that no persuasions would 
move More in the determination he had made, they had re- 
course to threats, and told him that the king had ordered, 
if gentleness would not win him, that in his name they 
should charge him with ingratitude, — that never was there 
servant to his sovereign so villanous, nor subject to his prince 
so traiterous, as he. For he, by subtle, sinister slights, ?nost 
unnaturally procuring and provoking him to set-forth a book 
of the assertion of the seven sacraments and maintenance of 
the pope^s authority, had caused him, to his dishonour through- 
out all Christendom, to put a sword in the pope's hand to 
fight against himself. -f 

• My lords,' replied More, ' these terrors be arguments 
for children and not for me. But to answer to that, where- 
with ye do chiefly burden me, — I believe the king's high- 
ness, of his honour, will never lay that to my charge ; for 

• £ng. works. f Roper. 


none is there who can in that point say in my excuse more 
than his highness himself. Who right well knoweth, that I 
was never procurer nor counsellor of his majesty thereunto, 
but after it was finished, by his grace's appointment, and 
consent of the maker's of the same, I was only a sorter-out 
and placer of the principal matters therein contained. 
Wherein when I found the pope^s authority highly advanced, 
and with strong arguments miglitily defended, I said unto 
his grace, I must put your highuess in remembrance of one 
thing, and that is this. The pope, as your grace knoweth, is 
a prince as i/ou are, and in league xvith alt other christian 
princes. It may so hereafter fall-out, that your grace and he 
may vary upon some points of leagues, whereupon may gro'ssi) 
breach of amity and war between ye both. I think it best 
therefore that that place be amended, and his authority more, 
slenderly touched. 

' Nay,' quoth his grace, ' that shall it not. We are so 
much bounden to the see of Rome, that we cannot do too much 
honour to it. 

' Then did I farther put him in remembrance of the sta- 
tute of premunire, Avhereby a good part of the pope's pas- 
toral cure here was pared away. To that answered his high- 
ness, whatsoever impediment be to the contrary, we will set- 
forth that authority to the uttermost, for we receive from that 
see our crown imperial; which I never heard-of before till 
his grace told it me with his own mouth. -So that I trust, 
when his grace shall be once truly informed of this, and 
4 Y2 


call to his gracious rcincinbruncc my doings in that bciialf, 
his highness will never speak of it more, but clear me there- 
in thoroughly himself.' And thus displeasantly departed 

t/iey, adds Mr. Roper. 

More now took boat for Chelsea and was very merry by 
the way, Mr. Roper rejoicing to see him so, hoped he was 
discharged from the bill. When they reached Chelsea, they 
walked together in the garden, and Mr. Roper observed, I 
inint sir that all is well, because that you be so merry. 

It is so indeed son Roper, I thank God I answered the 

Jire you then put-out of the parliament bill ? 

Bj/ my truth, son Roper, I never remembered it. 

Never remembered it ! a cause that toucheth yourself so 
near, and us all for your sake ! I am sorry to hear it ; for I 
verily trusted when I saw you so merry, that all had been 

Wilt thou know, son Roper, why I was so merry ? 

That would I gladly, sir. 

In good faith I rejoiced, son, that 1 had given the devil a 

SIR T. MOilE. 1&3 

foul fail ; and fhal with those lords I had gone so far, as 
without great shame I could never go hack again. 

Henry, as might be expected, was highly offended with 
More for what was little less than charging him with a de- 
liberate falsehood, and in his unjust revenge he said the bill 
regarding the nun should proceed against the kniglit. The 
chancellor and other lords replied, the upper-house was so 
bent on hearing him in his own defence, that it were best to 
rescind his name from the bill. Henry was, however, too 
much bent on carrying his point, not to reject this proposal. 
He was too haughty to submit to a subject with whom he 
had entered the lists, and too revengeful to forgive a man 
who had been his favourite and yet had dared to offend 
him. After a good deal of bouncing, he said he would 
himself be present in the house when the bill should pass ; 
imagining, no doubt, that the parliament stood so much in 
awe of him, that the lords would not dare in his presence 
to reject it. 

The committee of council, however, were of a different 
opinion. They feared, or pretended to fear, the talents 
and eloquence of Sir Thomas, Avhich were superior and 
commanding ; nor did they deem it prudent to hazard his 
appearance to plead in his own defence, whose virtues and 
amiable conduct had prejudiced so many in his favour be-- 
fore he spoke.* 

* Roper and Warner. 


But the moic they pressed Henry to give way, the 
haughtier he grew in insisting on liis point, ^\'hether they 
really appreliended a defeat, or whether they contended 
with the king in this manner from the personal friendship 
they had for Sir Thomas, it is difHcult to say. If we re- 
collect the tyranny Avith which Henry treated his jiarlia- 
ments we shall perhaps ascribe their arguments to the lat- 
ter cause, or to the apprehension of the people's clamour 
if he was attainted as the accomplice of so weak an im- 

Audley and the rest (says Mr. Roper) at last besought 
Henry on their knees, to forbear; adding, they mistvusted 
not, in time, against him to find some meet matter to serve 
the king's turn better. For in this cause of the nun he was 
accounted so innocent and clear, that for his dealings there- 
in, men reckoned him far worthier of praise than of reproof . 

Henry at length complied ; and Cromwell meeting Mr. 
Roper on the morrow, desired him to tell More, that his 
name was erased irom the bill. \\ hen the knight heard 
this from ISlrs. Roper, in faith Megg, he said, quod differtur 
non aufertur.^ 

The confidence which Henry's ministers expressed of 
finding meet matter to serve their master's turn, as well as 
More's last-mentioned prediction, proved but too correct. 
AYhen the nun of Kent afforded not a substantial ground 

• Roper. 

SIR T. MORE. 167 

for his persecution, other subjects were not wanting which 
soon led to the tragedy of his cruel death. 

In this year were passed, 

I. The important law Avhich regvilated the succession to 
the crown ; * by Avhich the marriage of Henry with Ca- 
tharine was declared void ; the sentence annulling the mar- 
riage, which Cranmer, now primate, had passed, was ra- 
tified ; and the king's marriage with Ann was confirmed. 
The crown was appointed to descend to the issue of this 
marriage, and failing such, to the king's heirs for ever. An 
oath was moreover required in favour of this succession, 
under penalty of imprisonment during the king's pleasure, 
and of forfeiture of goods and chattels. 

II. The parliament conferred on Henry the title of the 
only supreme head on earth of the church of England .-j- 
By Avhich, exclaimed the Romish party, the king and those 
he commissioned were made sole judges in matters of faith, 
and all ecclesiastical discipline was entrusted to them ; the 
commission which our Saviour had granted his apostles and 
their successors was set aside by a human law, and the au- 
thority they derived from heaven transferred to the state ; 
the care of souls was made to devolve on the civil power, 
and the being of Christianity to depend on the will of the 

• 25 Hen. VIII. 22. f 26 Hen. VIII. c. l. 


III. An act was passed,* by uhich it was iiuidc high 
treason for any person to maliciously wish, will, or desire, 
by words or writing, to deprive the king's most royal per- 
son, the queen, or their heirs apparent, or any of them, 
of the dignity, title or name of their royal estates. 

Soon after the second of these acts, a Latin bible was 
published, and in his majesty's general preface he thus 
triumphed in his new title. 

' Nos itaquc considerantes id erga Deum otVicii nostri, 
quo suscepisse cognoscimur, ut in regno simus sicut anima 
in corpore ct sol in mundo, utque loco Dei judicium exer- 
ceamus in regno nostro, et omnia in potestate habcntes, 
quoad jurisdictionem, ipsam etiam ecclesiam vice Dei sedulo 
regamus ac tueamur, et disciplinae ejus, sive augeatur aut 
soh atur, nos ci rationem reddituri simus qui nobis earn cre- 
didit, ct in eo Dei vicem agentes Deique habcntes imaginem ; 
quid aliud vel cogitare vel in animam inducere potuimus, 
quam ut eodem confugeremus, ubi certo discendum esset, 
ne (juid aliud vel ipsi faccremus, vel faciendum aliis prae- 
scriberemus, quam quod ab hac ipsa Dei lege ne vel trans- 
versum quidem digitum aberrare convinci queat.' 

We have also another instance of Henry's triumph, in 
what Mr. Evelyn justly calls his remarkable medalion ; the 
legend of which, in Latin, Hebrew, and Greek, provoked 
the remark, that Henry crucified the church as Pilate had 

* Ibid. c. 13. 

SIR T. MORE. 169 

done her Saviour, with the solemnity of three inscriptions. 
A representation of this medal may be seen in Mr. Eve- 
lyn's Numismata. 

The Romish party in those days it seems understood by 
head of the church, chief spiritual shepherd, as if the king 
had power to administer sacraments, ordain priests, &c. ; 
for all which they considered a layman as unqualified. But 
their adversaries contended that the term was only intend- 
ed to declare the prince superior to the prelates who ex- 
empted themselves from his authority by their immunities, 
as well as superior to the laity ; and that he was not sub- 
ject to the pope, who claimed jurisdiction over all princes 
and countries. The king, said the latter, did not by this 
title challenge power to debate, or determine any point of 
faith or matter of religion, much less to be supreme judge 
or governor of all doctrine and discipline. But would the 
subject in his realm have the assistance of the magistrate, 
to establish truth and prohibit error, and by wholesome 
punishments to prevent disorder, that authority laid neither 
in prelate nor in pope, but in the prince ; and in his domi- 
nions neither doctrine nor discipline could be estabhshed by 
public law, but by his consent. 

The oath of succession was generall}' taken, and bishop 
Fisher and More were the only persons of note who enter- 
tained scruples as to its legality. More's high reputation 
for virtue and integrity made it supposed that his authority 
would influence others, and great pains were taken to con- 

VOL. I. Z 

170 ME>[OIRS OF 

vince him on tliis point. But the kniglit was immoveable, 
probably because the preamble of the oath implietl, that 
the marriage with Catharine was unlawi'ul ; and whatever 
we think of his persuasion on this head, the integrity of his 
conscience we must admire. 

Mr. Roper relates that the duke of Norfolk said one day 
to More, — ' b}' the mass Mr. More, it is perilous striving 
Avith princes ; therefore I would wish j'ou somewhat to in- 
cline to the king's pleasure, for, by God's body! Mr. More, 
indignaiio principis ?nors est.' ' Is that all my lord ?" re- 
plied i\Iore ; ' then in good faith the difference between 
your grace and me is but this ; that I shall die to-day and 
you to-morrow.' 

About a month after the law for the oath was passed, 
certain clergy of London and ^Westminster, and More, were 
cited to appear at Lambeth before Cranmer, Audley, and 
CroniAvell, who were appointed to tender tlie oath unto 
them. More, as was his custom on important occasions, 
Avent to mass that morning ; a7id zchereas, continues Mr. 
Roper, he evermore used before, at his departure from his 
wife and children, whom he tenderly loved, to have them bring 
him to his boat and there to kiss them and bid them all fare- 
well, then woidd he suffer none of them forth the gate to fol- 
low him, but pulled the wicket after him and shut them all 
from him. His countenance, adds Mr. Roper, who accom- 
panied him in the boat to Lambeth, bespoke a heavy heart ; 

SIR T. MORE. 17i 

and sitting still sadly azvbile, at last he suddenly whispered 
to him, son Roper, I thank our Lord ! the field is won. 

As his mind appears to have predicted, More was not 
permitted to return home from this summons ; and he wrote 
his favourite daughter an account of the proceedings at 
Lambeth, whicli here followeth. 

Sir Thomas More to Mrs. Margaret Roper. 

' When I was before the Lords at Lambeth, I was the 
first who was called in ; albeit that ]\Ir. Dr. the vicar of 
Croydon was come before mc, and divers others. After the 
cause of my sending-for declared unto me, whereof I some- 
Avhat marvelled in my mind, considering that they sent for 
no more temporal men but me, I desired the sight of the 
oath ; which they shewed me under the great seal. Then 
desired I the sight of the act of the succession ; which was 
delivered me in a printed roll. 

' After which read secretly by myself, and the oath con- 
sidered with the act, I shewed unto them, that my purpose 
was not to put any fault either in the act or any man who 
made it, or in the oath or any man who sware it, nor to 
condemn the conscience of any other man ; but as for my- 
self, in good faith my conscience so moved me in the mat- 
ter, that though I would not deny to swear to the succes- 
sion, yet unto that oath which there was offered mc I could 
not swear, Avithout the jeoparding of my soul to perpetual 

Z C 


damnation. And that if they doubted, whether I did re- 
fuse the oath only for the grudge of my conscience, or for 
any other fantasy, I was ready therein to satisf)- them by 
mine oath : Which if they trusted not, what should they 
be the better to give mc any oath ? And if they trusted 
that I would therein swear true, then trusted I, that of their 
goodness they would not move me to swear the oath which 
they offered me, perceiving that for to swear it was against 
my conscience. 

* Unto this my lord chancellor said, that they all were 
very sorry to hear me say thus, and see me thus refuse the 
oath. And they said all, that on their faith I was the very 
first Avho ever refused it ; which would cause the king's 
highness to conceive great suspicion of me, and great indig- 
nation toward me. And therewith they shewed me the roll, 
and let me see the names of the lords and the commons, 
who had sworn and subscribed their names already. AVhich, 
notwithstanding, when they saw that I refused to swear the 
same myself, not blaming an}' other man who bad sworn, 
I was in conclusion commanded to go down into the gar- 

' And thereupon I tarried in the old burned chamber 
which looketh into the garden, and would not go down be- 
cause of the heat. In that time saw I INIr. Dr. Latimer 
come into the garden, and there walked he with divers 
other doctors and chaplains of my lord of Canterbury. 
And very merry I saw him ; for he laughed, and took one 

SIR T. MORE. 173 

or twain about the neck so handsomely, that if they had 
been women I would have weened he had been waxen 
wanton. After that came Mr. Dr. Wilson forth from the 
lords, and was with two gentlemen brought by me, and 
gentlemanly sent straight unto the Tower. AVhat time my 
lord of Rochester was calicd-in before them, that can I 
not tell. But at nio-ht I heard that he had been before 
them ; but where he remained that night, and so forth till 
he was sent hither, I never heard. I heard also that Mr. 
vicar of Croydon, and. all the remnant of the priests of 
London who were sent for, Avere sworn. And that they 
had such favour at the council's hand, that they were not 
lingered, nor made to dance any long attendance to their 
travail and cost, as suitors are sometimes wont to be, but 
were sped apace to their great comfort. So far forth, that 
Mr. vicar of Croydon, either for gladness or tor dryness, 
or else that it might be seen quod ille notus erat pontijici, 
went to my lord's butter3'-bar and called for drink, and 
drank vakle fomiltariter. 

* When they had played their pageant and were gone 
out of the place, then was I called-in again. And then 
Avas it declared unto me, what a number had sworn even 
since I went aside, gladly, without any sticking. Wherein 
I laid no blame in no man ; but for mine own self, answer^ - 
ed as before. 

' Now as well before as then, they somewhat laid unto 
me for obstinacy ; that whereas before, since I refused to 


swear, I would not declare any special part of that oath 
vhicli grudged my conscience, and open the cause where- 
fore. Tor thereunto I had said unto them, that I leared 
lest the king's highness would, as they said, take disj)lca- 
sure enough toward me for the only refusal of the oath. 
And tiiat if 1 should open and disclose the causes wlvj, I 
should therewith but farther exasperate his highness. Which 
I would in nowise do ; but rather would I abide all the 
danger and harm which might come toward me, than give 
his highness any occasion of farther displeasure, than the 
offering of the oath unto me, of pure necessity constrained 
me. liowbeit when they divers times imputed this to me 
for stubbornness and obstinacy, that I would neither swear 
the oath nor yet declare the causes why, I declined thus far 
toward them, that rather than I avouUI be accounted for ob- 
stinate, I would ui)on the king's gracious licence, or rather 
his such commandnient had, as might be my sufficient war- 
rant that my declaration should not oflend his highness nor 
put me in the danger of any of his statutes, I would be 
content to declare the causes in writing. And over that, to 
give an oath in the beginning, that if I might find those 
causes by any man in suchwise answered, as 1 might think 
mine own conscience satisfied, I would after that, with all 
mine heart, swear the principal oath too. 

' To this I was answered, that though the king would give 
me licence under his letters patent, yet would it not serve 
against the statute. Whereto I said, that yet if I had them, 
I would stand unto the trust of liis honour, at my peril for 

SIR T. MORE. 175 

the remnant. But yet thinketh me lo ! that if I may not 
declare the causes without peril, then to leave them unde- 
clared is no ohstinacy. 

' My lord of Canterbury, taking hold upon that that I 
said, that I condeynned not the consciences of them who swear, 
said unto me, that it appeared ^ve\\ that I did not take it 
for a very sure thing and a certain, that I might not law- 
fully swear it ; but rather as a thing uncertain and doubt- 
ful. Hut then,' said my lord, ' you knoxv for a certainty, 
and a thing zvithout doubt, that you he hounden to obey your 
sovereign lord your king. And therefore are you hounden to 
leave-of the doubt of your unsure conscience in refusing the 
oath, and take the sure zeay in obeying of your prince, and 
swear it. 

' Now all was it so that in mine own mind mcthought 
myself not concluded, yet this argument seemed me sud- 
denly so subtle, and namely, with such authority coming 
out of so noble a prelate's mouth, that I could again an- 
swer nothing thereto, but onl}^ that I thought myself I 
might not well do so ; because that in my conscience this 
was one of the cases, in which I was bounden that I should 
not obey my prince. Since that whatsoever other folk 
thought in the matter, Avhose conscience or learning I would 
not condemn nor take upon me to judge, yet in my con- 
science the truth seemed on the other side. Wherein I had 
not informed my conscience neither suddenly nor slightly, 
but by long leisure and diligent search for the matter^ 


And of trutli if that reason may concliule, then have we a 
ready way to avoid all perplexities. For in whatsoever mat- 
ter the doetors stand in great doubt, the king's command- 
ment, given upon whether side he list, solvcth all the 

' Then said my lord of Westminster to me, that howsoever 
the matter seemed unto mine own mind, I had cause to fear 
that mine OAvn mind was erroneous, when I see the great 
council of the realm determine of my mind the contrary ; 
and that therefore I ought to change my conscience. To 
that I answered, that if there were no more but myself up- 
on my side, and the whole parliament upon the other, I 
would be sore afraid to lean to mine own mind only, against 
so many. But on the other side, if it so be that in some 
things for which I refuse the oath, I have, as I think I have, 
upon my part as great a council and a greater too, I am 
not then bounden to change my conscience, and conform 
.it to the council of one realm against the general council of 

* Upon this j\Ir. Secretary, as he who tenderly favoureth 
me, said and swear a great oath, that he had leaver that his 
own only son (who is of truth a goodly young gentleman, 
and shall, I trust, come to nmch worship) had lost his 
head, than that 1 should thus have refused the oath. For 
surely the king's highness would now conceive a great sus- 
picion against me, and think that the matter of the nun of 
Canterbury was all contiived by my drift. To which I said, 

SIR T. MORE. 177 

that the contrary was true and well known; and whatsoever 
should mishap nie, it lay not in my power to help it, with- 
out the peril of my soul. 

' Then did my lord chancellor repeat before me my re- 
fusal unto Mr. Secretary, as to him who was going unto 
the king's grace. And in the rehearsing, his lordship re- 
peated again, that I denied not, but was content to swear 
unto, the succession. Whereunto I said, that as for that 
point, / would be content, so that I might see my oath in 
that point so framed, in such a manner as mi;^ht stand 
with my conscience. I'hen said ni}' lord, mary Mr. Secre- 
tary mark that too, that lie will not sxaear that neither 
but under some certain manner. Verily no my lord, quoth I; 
hut that I will see it made in suchzeise first, as I shall myself 
see that 1 shall 7ieither be forstcorne, nor swear against my 

' Surely as to swear to the succession, I see no peril. 
But I thought, and think it reason, that to mine own oath 
I look well myself and be of counsel also in the fashion ; 
and never intended to swear for a piece, and set my hand 
to the whole oath. IJowbeit, as help me God ! as touch- 
ing the whole oatli, I never withdrew any man from it ; nor 
never advised any to refuse it ; nor never put, nor will put, 
any scruple in any man's head ; but leave every man to his 
own conscience. And methinketh in good faith, that so 
were it good reason, that every man should leave me to mine.'* 

* English works. 

Vol. I. A a 


^Vc scarcely know whetlicr to be most surprised, that 
such an argument of mere sound as wc have heard should 
liave proceeded from Cranmer, should for a moment have 
influenced More, or should have had any weight with Bur- 
net. Every man, saith S'. Paul, should be fully persuaded 
in his own mind, — and though nothing be unclean of itself 
yet to him zoho esteemeth anything unclean, to him it is un" 
clean ; a)id he who doubtcth is damned if he eat. Thus, 
though obedience to the king and the laws Avas a thins: 
right in itself, and the duty of eveiy subject ; yet if it ap- 
jieared to More that the oath Avas contrary to the laAV of 
God (to which another laAV had restrained the power of the 
legislature), he was so far from being obliged in conscience 
to take this oath, that he Avould have violated his conscience 
and been self-condemned had he taken it. Others who saw 
nothing in the oath Avhich they thought contrary to the law 
of God, Avere not blamed by ISIore, it is true, for taking it, 
for they had only done their duty ; but Cranmer's conclu- 
sion, that More Avas only doubtful in this matter, by no 
means folloAved. He Avas, on the contrary, well persuaded, 
Ihat it Avould be sinful in him to take the oath, Avho thought 
it contrary to the laAv of God.* 

On tlie abbot of "Westminster's reasonino- there needeth 
no other reflection than Burnet hath made, — it Avas very 
fit for so lich an abbot, and discovered the temper of his 
oAvn conscience. 

•■ Srt Warner. 

SIR T. MORE. 179 

For four days, More was committed to the custody of 
this abbot ; during which time, saith Mr. Roper, the king 
consulted with his council what order were meet to be taken 
with him. Cranmer, foreseeing the ill effect of contending 
with persons so highly esteemed over the world as More 
and Fisher, and who were of such a temper that severity 
would have no influence with them, wrote a curious letter 
to Cromwell on the occasion, which is preserved in the 
Cotton library, and places More's estimation in too strong 
a light, not to demand a place in the present work. 

Archbishop Cramner to Secretary Cromwell. 

Right Worshipful Mr. Cromwell, 

After most hearty commendations, &c. ; I doubt not but 
you do right well remember, that my lord of Rochester and 
Mr. More were contented to be sworn to the act of the 
king's succession, but not to the preamble of the same. 
What was the cause of their refusal thereof I am uncertain, 
and they Avould by no means express the same. Neverthe- 
less it must needs be, either the diminution of the autho- 
rity of the bishop of Rome, or else the reprobation of the 
king's first pretenced matrimony. 

But if they do obstinately persist in their opinions of 
the preamble, yet meseemeth it should not be refused, if 
they will be sworn to the very act of succession, so that 
they will be sworn to maintain the same against all powers 

A a 2 


and potentates. For hereby shall be a great occasion to 
satisfy the princess dowager, and the lady Mary, who do 
think that they should damn their souls if they should 
abandon and relinquish their estates. And not only it 
should stop the mouths of them, but also of the emperor, 
and other their friends, if they give as much credence to 
my lord of Rochester and ISIr. More speaking or doing 
against them, as they hitherto have done and thought that 
all others should have done when they spake and did with 
them. And peradventure it should be a good quietation to 
man}' others within this realm, if such men should say, 
that the succession comprised within the said act is good 
and according to God's laws. For then I think there is 
not one within this realm who would once reclahn against 

And whereas divers persons, either of a wilfulness will 
not, or of an indurate and invertible conscience cannot, 
alter from their opinions of the king's fnst pretenced mar- 
riage (wherein they have once said their minds, and per- 
ease have a persuasion in their lieads, that if they should 
now vary therefrom, their fame and estimation were dis- 
tained for ever), or else of the authority of the bishop of 
Rome ; yet if all the realm with one accord would appre- 
hend the said succession, in my judgment it is a thing to 
be amplccted and embraced. Which thing, although I 
trust surely in God that it shall be brought to pass, yet 
hereunto miaht not a little avail the consent and oaths of 
these two persons, the bishop of Rochester and Mr. j\Iore, 

SIR T. MORE. 181 

with their adherents or rather confederates. And if the 
king's pleasure so were, their said oaths might be suppress- 
ed, but when and Avhere his highness might take some com- 
modity by the pubUshing of the same. Thus our Lord have 
you ever in his conservation. From my manor at Cro^'don, 
the 17'* day of April, 

Your own assured ever, 


But this wise advice was not taken. The king (exasper- 
ated by queen Ann, if Ave may credit Mr. Roper), was 
much irritated against them, and resolved to proceed Mith 
them according to law. They were both indicted on the 
statute and committed prisoners to the Tower. It being- 
apprehended that if they were allowed the use of pen and 
paper they would write against the marriage or supremacy, 
these were after a certain time denied them. AVhen the. 
king sent a general pardon, More and Fisher were not only 
excluded by general clauses, but by two particular acts 
they were attainted of misprision of treason. More in .par- 
ticular, was, by an invidious preamble, charged with in- 
gratitude, for the great favours he had received from the 
kin2:? and for stud vino- to sow sedition among the kino's 
subjects, and refusing to take the oath of succession ; the 
king's grants to him were therefore declared void, and ho 
was attainted as already related.* 

• Roper and Burnet. 


Severe and revengeful as was this treatment, some thought 
it necessary in so important a crisis ; lest indulgence to him 
who had enjojed so great authority, might encourage others 
to revolt and be corrupted in their affection to the king. 
IMore was certainly not wanting in loyalty, and was willing 
to take the oath of succession however he disapproved the 
second marriage. His treason consisted in a point of con- 
science, and if the severity shewn him was not unjust, it 
was probably impolitic. If his reputation was high before, 
his present persecution for a mere opinion, and an opinion 
which the king and his suljjects had so lately favoured, was 
likely only to raise it higher. 

"VVe have in his English works another letter from More 
to Cromwell, written probably while he was in the custody 
of the abbot of ^^'estminste^, from which we will extract 
what he writes concerning the king's marriage and the pope's 
primac}', and therewith conclude the present chapter. 

' Upon a time at my coming from be3'ond the sea, where 
I had been on the king's business, I repaired, as my duty 
was, unto the king's grace, being at that time at Hampton- 
court. At which time, suddenly his liighness, walking in 
the gallcr}', brake with me of his great matter ; and shew- 
ed me, that it was now perceived, that his marriage was 
not only against the positive laws of the church and the 
Avrittcn law of God, but also, in suchwise against the law 
of nature, that it could in nowise by the church be dispens- 

sill T. MOKE. 1S3 

able. Now so was it, before my going over the sea I had 
heard certain things moved against the bull of the dispensa- 
tion, concerning the words iii the law Levitical and the law 
Deutronomical, to prove the prohibition to be dejure div'mo. 
But yet perceived I not at that time, but that the greater 
hope of the matter stood, in certain faults which were 
found in the bull ; whereby tlie bull should by the law 
not be sutficient. And such comfort was there in that point 
(as far as I perceived), a good season, that the counsel on 
the other part were fain to bring-forth a brief, by which 
they pretended those defaults to be supplied. The truth of 
■which brief was by the king's counsel suspected, and much 
diligence was thereafter done for the trial of that point. 
Wheiein what was finally found, either 1 never knew, or 
else I not remember. 

' But I rehearse you this to the intent you shall know, 
that the first time that ever I heard that point moved, that- 
it should be in such high degree against the law of nature, 
was the time in which, as 1 began tell you, the king's grace 
shewed it me himself, and laid the Bible open before me ; 
and there read me the words which moved his highness and 
divers other erudite pei'sons so to think, and asked me far- 
ther what myself thought thereon. At which time, not pre- 
suming to look that his highness should any thing take that 
point for the more proved or improved for my poor mind 
in so great a matter, I shewed nevertheless, as my duty 
was at his commandment, what thing I thought upon the 
words which I there read. AVhereupon liis highness, ac- 


ccpting benignly my sudden unadvised answer, command- 
ed me to comnmnc' farther witli Mr. J'ox, now his grace's 
ahnoner, and to read with him a book which then was in 
making for that matter. 

' After which book read, and my poor opinion eftsoons 
tleclared unto his highness tliereupon, his highness, hkc a 
prudent and a virtuous prince, assembled at another time 
at Hampton-court a good number of very v^^ell-learned men. 
At which time, as far as ever 1 iieard, there were, as was 
in so great a matter most likely to be, divers opinions among 
them. IJowbeit, 1 never heard but that they agreed at that 
time upon a certain form, in which the book should be 
made ; which was afterward, at York-place in my lord 
cardinal's chamber read, in the presence of divers bishops 
and many learned men. And they all thought, that there 
ajjpearcd in the book good and reasonable causes, which 
might well move the king's highness, being so virtuous a 
prince, to conceive in his mind a scruple against his mar- 
riage. A\ Inch, while he could not otherwise avoid, he did 
well and virtuously, for the acquieting of his conscience, to 
sue ; and procure to have his doubt decided by judgment 
of the church. 

' After this the suit began, and the legates sat upon the 
matter. During all which time, I never meddled there, nor 
was a man meet to do ; for the matter was in hand by an 
ordinary process of the spiritual law, whereof I could little 
skill. And. yet while the legates were sitting upon the 

SIR T. MORE. • 185 

matter, it pleased the king's highness, to send me, in the 
company of my lord of London, noAv of Durham, in em- 
bassy, about the peace which, at our being there, Avas con- 
cluded at Cambra}^ between his highness and the emperor 
and the French king. And after my coming home, his high- 
ness, of his only goodness, as far unworthy as I was there- 
to, made me, as you well know, his chancellor of this realm. 
Soon after which time, his grace moved me again, yet eft- 
soons to look and consider his great matter ; and Avell and 
indifferently to ponder such things as I should find therein. 
And if it so were, that thereupon it should hap me, to see 
such things as should persuade me to that part, he would 
gladly use me among other of his counsellors in the matter. 
And nevertheless he graciously declared unto me, that he 
would in nowise that I should other thing do or say therein, 
than upon that that I should perceive mine own conscience 
should serve me ; and that I should first look unto God. 
and after God unto him ; which most gi-acious words, was 
the first lesson also that ever his grace gave me, at my first 
coming into his noble service. 

' This motion was to me very comfortable ; and much I 
longed, beside anything that myself either had seen, or by 
farther search should hap to find for the one part or the 
other, yet specially to have some conference in the matter 
with some such of his grace's learned council, as most for 
his part had laboured and most had found in the matter. 
Whereupon his highness assigned unto me the noAV most 
reverend fathers, archbishops of Canterbury and York, with . 

Vol. I. B b 


Mr. Dr. Fox now his grace's almoner, and Mr. Dr. Nicholas 
the Italian friar. Whereupon 1 not only sought and read, 
and, as far forth as my poor wit and learning served me, 
well weighed and considered, every such thing as I could 
find myself, or read in any other man's labour which 1 could 
get who anvthino; had written thereon, but had also diligent 
conference with his grace's counsellors aforesaid. \\ hose 
honours and worships I nothing mistrust in this point, but 
that they both have and will report unto his highness, that 
they never found obstinate manner or fashion in me ; but a 
mind as toward and as conformable, as reason could in a 
matter disputable require. 

* "Whereupon, the king's highness being farther advertised, 
both by them and by myself, of my poor opinion in the 
matter, — wherein, to have been able or meet to do him 
service, I would, as I then shewed his highness, have been 
more glad than of all such worldly commodities as I either 
then had or ever should come to — — his highness, graci- 
ously taking agreeabl}^ my good mind in that behalf, used, 
of his blessed disposition, in the prosecuting of his great mat- 
ter, only those (of whom his grace had good numbei-), whose 
conscience his grace perceived well and fully persuaded up- 
on that part. And as well me, as any other to whom his 
highness thought the thing to seem otherwise, he used in 
his other business. Abiding, of his abundant goodness, 
nevertheless gracious lord unto every man ; nor never was 
willing to put any man in rufHc, or trouble of liis con- 

SIR T. MOIIE. 187 

' After this did I never nothino- more therein. Nor never 
any word wrote 1 tlierein to the impairing of his grace's part, 
neither before nor after. Ijiit setthng ni}' mind in quiet to 
serve his grace in other things, I would not so much as look 
nor let lie by me any book of the other part, albeit that 1 
gladly read afterward divers books ^vhich were made on his 
part. Nor never would I read the book which Mr. Abel 
made on the other side, nor other books which were as I 
heard say made in Latin beyond the sea, nor never gave ear 
to the pope's proceeding in the matter. Moreover, where I 
had found in my study a book which I h id before borrowed 
of my lord of Bath (uhich book he had made of the matter, 
at such tinie as the legates sat here thereupon) which book 
had been by me negligently cast aside ; and that I shcAved 
him, I would send him home his book again ; he told me, 
that in good fiiith he had long time before discharged his 
mind of that matter, and, having forgotten that copy to 
remain in my hand, had burned his own copy which he 
had thereof at home. And because he no more minded to 
me<ldle anything in the matter, he desired me to burn the 
sarhe book too ; and, upon my faith, so did I ! 

' Beside this, divers other ways have I so used myself* 
that if I rehearsed them all it should well appear, that I 
never have had against his grace's marriage any manner of 
demeanour, whereby his highness might have any manner 
of cause or occasion of displeasure toward me. For, like- 
wise as 1 am not he who either can, or whom it could be- 
come to take upon nie the determination or decision of 



sucli a weighty matter (whereof divers points a grerft way 
pass my learning) ; so am I lie who, among other his grace's 
tUithful sul^jeets, his highness being in possession of liis 
marriage, will most heartily j)ray for that prosperous estate 
of his grace long to continue, to the pleasure of God. 

♦ As touching the third point, the primacy of the pope, 
1 nothinti meddle in that mailer. Truth it is, that, as I 
told you Avhen you desired me to shew you what I thought 
therein, I was myself sometime not of the mind, that the 
primacy of that see should be begun b\' the institution of 
God ; until that I read in that matter those things which 
the king's highness had written, in his most famous book 
against the heresies of Martin Luther. 

' At tlie first reading whereof, I moved the king's high- 
ness, either to leave-out that point, or else to touch it more 
slenderly ; for doubt of such things as after might hap to 
fall in (juestion, between his highness and some pope, as 
between princes and popes divers times have done. ^\ here- 
unto his highness answered me, Ihat he zcould in nowise any- 
ihivg minish of that matter ; of which thing, his highness 
shewed me a secret cause, whereof I never had anything 
lieard before. But surely, after that I had read his grace's 
book thereon, and so many other things as I have seen on 
that point by this continuance of these seven years since 
and more, 1 have found in effect, the substance of all the 
holy doctors, from S'. Ignatius, disciple of S'. John the 
Evangelist, unto our own days, both Latins and Greeks, 

SIR T. MORE. 189 

so consonant and agreeing in that point, and the thing by 
such general councils so confirmed also, that in good faith 
I never neither read nor heard anything of such effect on 
the other side, which ever could lead me to think that my 
conscience were well discharged, but rather iii right great 
peril, if I should follow the other side and deny the primacy 
to be provided by God. 

* Which if we did, yet can I nothing, as I shewed you, 
perceive any commodity which ever could come by that 
denial ; for that the primacy is at the leastwise instituted by 
the corps of Christendom, and for a great, urgent cause, in 
avoiding of schisms ; and corroborated by continual succes- 
sion, more than the space of a thousand j'cars at the least; 
for there are passed almost a thousand years since the time 
of holy S', Gregory, And therefore, since all Christendom is 
one corps, I cannot perceive how any member thereof may, 
without the common assent of the body, depart from the 
common head. And then, if we may not lawfully leave it 
by ourselves, I cannot perceive but, if the thing were a 
treating in a general council, what the question could avail, 
whether the primacy were instituted immediately by God 
or ordained by the church. 

* As for the general councils assembled lawfully, I never 
could perceive but that, in the declaration of the truth, it 
is to be believed and to be standen-to. The authority 
whereof ought to be taken for undoubtable. Or else, were 
there in nothing no certainty but, through Christendom, up- 


on every man's art'ectionate reason, all things might be brought 
liom day to day into continual ruflle and confusion, i'roni 
A\ hich, by the general councils, the spirit of God, assisting 
every such council well assembled, keepeth, and ever shall 
keep, the corps of his catholic church. And verily, since 
the king's highness hath, as by the book of his honourable 
council appeareth, appealed to the general council from the 
jiope (in which council I beseech our Lord send his grace 
comfortable speed!), methinketh in my poor mind, it could 
be no fartherance there unto his grace's cause, if his high- 
ness should in his own realm before, either by laws making 
or books putting-forth, seem to derogate and deny not on- 
ly the primacy of the see apostolic, but also the authority 
of the general councils too. Which I verily trust his high-* 
ness intcMidcth not ; for, in the next general council, it may 
well happen, that this pope may be deposed, and another 
substituted in his room, with Avliom the king's highness may 
be very well content. 

* For, albeit that I have for mine own part such opinion 
of the pope's primacy as I have shewed you, yet never 
thought I the pope above the general council ; nor never 
have, in any book of mine, put-iorth among the king's 
subjects in our vulgar tongue, advanced greatly the pope's 
authority. For, albeit that a man may peradventure find 
therein, that, after the common manner of all christian 
realms, I speak of him as j)rimate ; yet never do 1 stick 
thereon, with reasoning and proving of that point. And 
in my book against the jNlasker, 1 wrote not 1 wot-Aveil live 

SIR T. MORE. 191 

times, and yet of no more but only S'- Peter himself; from 
whose person many take not the primacy, even of those 
who grant it none of his successors. And yet was that 
book made, printed, and put-forth of very truth, before 
that any of the books of the council were either printed or 
spoken-of. But, whereas I had written thereof at length 
in my Confutation before, and for the proof thereof had 
compiled together all that I could find therefore, at such 
time as I little looked that there should fall Ijetween the 
king's highness and the pope such a breach as is fallen 
since ; when I after that saw the thing likely to draw to- 
ward such displeasure between them, I suppressed it utter- 
ly, and never put Avord thereof into my book, but put-out 
the remnant without it. Which thing well declareth, that 
I never intended anything to meddle in that matter against 
the king's gracious pleasure, Avhatsoever mine own opinion 
were therein. 

' And thus have I, good Mr. Cromwell, long troubled 
your mistership Avith a long process of these matters ; Avith 
Avhich I neither durst, nor it could become me, to encum- 
ber the king's noble grace. But I beseech you, for our 
Lord's love, that you be not so Aveary of my most cumbrous 
suit, but that it may like you, at such opportune time or 
times as your Avisdom may find, to help that his highness 
may, by your goodness, be fully informed of my true, faith- 
ful mind. That he may the rather, by the means of your 
Avisdom and dexterity, consider, that in the matter of the 
nun, there Avas never on my part any other mind than 


good. Nor yet in any other thing else, never was there 
nor never shall there be, any farther fault found in me, 
than that I cannot in every thing think the same way that 
some other men, of more wisdom and deeper learning, do; 
nor can find in mine heart otherwise to say, than as mine 
own conscience giveth me. ^Vhich condition hath never 
groAvn, in any thing which ever might touch his gracious 
pleasure, of any obstinate mind or mis-affectionate appetite, 
but of a timorous conscience ; rising haply for lack of bet- 
ter perceiving, and yet not without tender respect unto my 
most bounden duty toward his noble grace. Whose only 
favour I so much esteem, that I nothing have of mine own 
in all this world, except only my soul, but that I will with 
better will forego it, than abide of his highness one heavy, 
displeasant look.' 


Sm T. MORE. 193 


Henry Fill and Constantius. . . . More' s Jirmness. . . . Anecdotes. . . 7 
Mrs. Roper visiteth him. . . . His pains to meet his fate in a becoming 
manner. , . . His reflection on the execution of Reynolds, &c. . . . His 
verses on Cromwell's promise. . . . Lady More visiteth him, and some 
of the privy-council. , . . His two letters to his daughter. . . . His 
hooks taken from him. . . . Rich's conversation with More. . . . More 
arraigned, . . . The commissioners and jury. . . . More's answer to the 
indictment. . . . His answer to Rich. . . . The jury find him guilty. . . . 
His arguments as to the insufficiency of the indictment. . . . The cha7i- 
cellor's anstoer, and More's reply. . , . Sentence passed upon him. . . . 
Farther proceedings. . . . More's courage and constancy, . . . His meet- 
ing with his children. . . . Anecdote. . . . His last letter to his daugh- 
ter. . . . Sir Thomas Pope sent to him. . . . More's preparation for 
death. . . , His last jokes, and execution. . . . His burial. 

J. HE later times of Henry VIII have been well enough 
compared to those of Constantius. Of this emperor x\m- 
mianus Marcellinus observes, he was cruel toward all who 
tmly or falsely were charged Avith treason. Any accusa- 
tion, how slight soever, served to ruin a man ; and his sub- 
jects were so far from daring to tell their dreams, lest they 
Vol. I. C c 


>iioul{l have o. treasonable interpretation put upon them, 
that fliey dared not to oxen they ever slept. If we except 
the history of Henry's own. family, perhaps no stronger 
instance occurs in his reign of the justice of the compari- 
son, than liis sacrifice of Sir Thomas More. 

Neither irritated by persecution, nor dismayed in the 
least degree by kingly power, in a mild though firm man- 
ner, the knight maintained his resolution ; and the accus- 
tomed facetionsness of his disposition forsook him not even 
in his way to prison. 

It was IMore's custom to wear a golden chain around 
his neck, and he now had it on as usual. His conductor 
to the Tower advised him to send this ornament home to 
his wife, or to some of his children. Nay sir, replied More, 
that will I not ; for if I were taken in the f eld by my ene- 
mies, I would they should somewhat fare the better for me. 

At tl^e Tower-gate, the porter demanded of More his 
upper garment. The knight presented him his cap, and 
was very sorry it was no better. "Wit was, however, not 
current with Cerberus, who soon disrobed the knight of his 

"When !More was conducted to his appartment by the 
lieutenant of the Tower, he called his servant John Wood, 
who was appointed to attend him, and who could neither 
read nor write, and brought him to his oath before th« 

Sm T. MORE. 195 

lieirtenant, that if he should witness that the knight spoke 
or wrote against the king, the council or the state, he should 
immediately declare it to the lieutenant, that it might be 
communicated without delay to the council. 

The lieutenant, adds ]\Ir. Roper, soon afterward acknow- 
ledged his former obligations to More, and his wish now 
to afford him good cheer ; but since by so doing he should 
hazard the king's displeasure, he trusted More would ac- 
cept his good will and such poor cheer as he dared to af- 
ford him. ' Mr. Lieutenant,' replied More, ' I verily be- 
lieve, as you may, so are you my good friend indeed, and 
would, as you say, with your best cheer entertain me ; for 
the which I most heartily thank you : And assure your- 
self Mr. Lieutenant, I do not mislike my cheer ; but when- 
soever I so do, then thrust me out of your doors.' 

Such indeed was More's mind, that his punishments, as 
they were called, only afforded him opportunities for the 
display of that superior patience and constancv, which the 
ordinary occurrences of life were hardly sufficient to aj)- 

^Vhen he had been in the Tower about a month, Mrs. 
Roper by earnest entreaty at length obtained permission to 
visit her father. After some time spent with her in prayer, 
according to his usual custom, ' I believe Meg (said More, 
among other things), that the}' who have put me here ween 
they have done me a high displeasure. But I assure thee 

Cc 2 


on m}' faith mine own good daughter, if it had not been 
for my a\ ifc and ye who be my children, I would not have 
failed long ere this, to have closed myself in as straight a 
room and straighter too. But, since I am come hither 
without mine own desert, I trust that God of his goodness 
will discharge me of my care, and with his gracious iielp 
supply my lack among ye. I find no cause, I thank God i 
INIeg, to reckon myself in worse case here than at home. 
For methinketh, God maketh me a Avanton, and setteth 
me on his lap and dandleth me.' * 

In the course of his imprisonment, INIore seems never 
for a moment to have lost sight of the end which it was 
probable he should come to. He owns that he was of an 
irritable habit by nature, and weak against bodily sufter- 
ing. Yet the whole force of his mind appears to have been 
exerted at this time, in preparation to meet his fate with 
constancv and composure. He withdrew himself by de- 
gi-ees from every Avorldly interest, and dwelt with daily in- 
creasing delight on his hope of a better state. Tliough few 
men have ever had more substantial ground for confidence 
in iheir own merits, he looked forward to the great judg- 
ment with trembling, but with every hope from his Maker's 
mercy and the merits of Christ. We shall find that the 
effects of his endeavours, even to human eyes, were won- 
derful ; that no man ever overcame worldly suffering in the 
end more completely, or met so severe a fate with less dread 
of the stroke. 

• Roper. 

SIR T. MORE. - 197 

Looking out of his window in tiie Tower one da}' when 
Reynolds, a father of Sion, and three monks, were leading 
to execution, on the affair of the kind's marria2;e and su- 
premacy, ' Lo dost thou not see ]\Ieg,' he exclaimed to 
his daughter, ' that these blessed fathers be now as cheer- 
fully going to their deaths as bridegrooms to their marriage. 
Wherefore thereby mayst thou sec, mine own good daugh- 
ter, what a great difference there is between such as have 
in effect spent all their days in a straight, and penitential, 
and painful life religiously, and such as have in the world, 
like worldly wretches, as thy poor father hath done, con- 
sumed all their time in pleasure and ease licentiously. For 
God, considering their long-continued life in most sore and 
grievous pennance, will no longer suffer them to remain 
here in this vale of misery, but speedily hence taketh them 
to the fruition of his everlasting deity. Whereas thy silly 
father, Meg, who like a wicked caitiff hath passed forth 
the whole course of his miserable life most sinfiilly, God, 
thinking him not worthy so soon to come to that eternal > 
felicity, leaveth him here yet still in this world, farther to 
be plagued and turmoiled with misery/ * 

Secretary Cromwell came to More one day in the Tower- 
from the king, as Mr. Roper informs us, and pretending 
great friendship for the knight, told him that his majesty 
would be good and gracious to him, and not trouble his 
conscience in future with any matter wherein he should 
have cause for scruple. But More understood Henry and 

* Roper i 


liis court too well, to fix the smallest reliance on such a pro- 
mise ; and to prove what little credit he attached to it, he 
wrote these verses so soon as Cromwell was gone, Avhich ard 
])reberved in his English woiks. 

Ey fluttering Fortune, look tliou ne'er so fair 

Or ne'er so pleasantly begin to smile, 
As though thou wouldst my ruin all rep.tir ; 

During my iifi'lliou sliult me not iK-guile. 

Trust shall I Gocl, to enter in a while 
"Ilis haven of heaven sure and uniform. 
Ever, alter thy calm, look I for a storm. 

Lady More at length procured permission to visit her 
husband, and soon exclaimed in her usual worldly manner. 
' I marvel that you, Avho hitherto have been taken for a 
wise man, Avill now so play the fool to lie here in this close 
filthy prison, and be content tluis to be shut-up among 
mice and rats ; when you might be abroad at your libert}', 
and with the favour and good-will both of the king and his 
council, if you would but do as all the bishops and best- 
learned of this realm have done. And seeing you have at 
Chelsea a right i'air house, your library, your galler}^ gar- 
den, orchard, and all other necessaries so handsome about 
you, where you might in the couipany of me your wife, 
your children and household be merry, I muse what a God's 
name you mean here still thus fondly to tuny.' More ask- 
ed her if his present habitation was not as near heaven as 
liis own iiouse ? And since, if he were buried seven years, 
and then rose and came to his own house, he should not fail 

SIR T. MORE. 199 

to find some therein who would bid him get out of doors 
and tell him it was none of his, why he should love a house 
which would so soon forget its master ? How long, he add- 
ed, do yoii think we mai/ live to enjoy it ? Some twenty years, 
she replied. If you had said some thousand, answered More, 
it had been somezvhat ; and yet he were a very bad merchant 
who would put himself in danger to lose eternity for a thou- 
sand years. IIozo much the rather, if we be not sure to en- 
joy it one day to an end ! * 

It is possible that the good lad}^ may have been an in- 
strument employed by the court, to endeavour at prevail- 
ing on her husband to meet the wishes of the kino. At 
least, no attempt appears to have been spared, toward the 
completion of an object which was evidently deemed of 
no small importance. For, not long after the meeting al- 
ready described, the chancellor, the dukes of Norfolk and 
Suffolk, Cromwell, and others of the privy council, came 
to More at two distinct times, by all pollicies possible pro- 
cto'ing him, saith Mr. Roper, either precisely to confess the 
supremacy, or precisely to deny it. At either of these 
times. More wrote confidentially to his daughter ISIargaret, 
describing to her what had passed, and the letters are pre- 
served in his Endish works. As these letters o-ive us the 
best account we have of the proceedings, they are here, 
presented to the reader. 

• Roper and More. 


Our Lord bless you nvj dearhf beloved daughter ! 

' I doubt not but, by the reason of the king's counsellors 
resorting hither in this time, in which (our Lord be their 
comfort!) these fathers of the Charterhouse and Mr. Rey- 
nolds of Sion be now judged to death for treason (whose 
matters and causes I know not), may hap to put you in 
trouble and fear of mind concerning nie, being here pri- 
soner ; specially for that it is not unlikely that you have 
heard, that I was brought also before the council here my- 
self. I have thought it necessary to advertise you of the 
very truth ; to the end that, you should neither conceive 
more hope than the matter giveth, lest upon another turn it 
might agrieve your heaviness ; nor more grief and fear than 
the matter giveth on the other side. 

* Wherefore shortly you shall understand, that on Friday 
the last day of April in the afternoon, Mr. Lieutenant came 
in here unto me and shewed me, that Mr. Secretary would 
speak with me. AA'hereupon I shifted my gown, and went 
out with Mr. Lieutenant into the gallery to him ; where I 
met many, some known and some unknown, in the way. 
And in conclusion, coming into the chamber where his mis- 
tership sat with Mr. Attorney, INIr. Solicitor, Mr. Bedyll, 
and i\Ir. Dr. Tregonwell, I was offered to sit-down with 
them ; which in nowise I would. 

' Whereupon Mr. Secretary sliewed unto me, that he 

SIR T. MORE. 501 

doubted not but that I had, by such friends as hither had 
resorted to me, seen the new statutes made at tJie last sit- 
ting of the parhament. Whereunto I answered yea verily; 
howbeit forasmuchas, being here, I have no conversation 
with any people, I thought it little need for rae to bestow 
much time upon them ; and therefore I re-delivered the 
book shortly, and the effect of the statutes I never marked, 
nor studied to put in remembrance. Then he asked me, 
whether I had not read the first statute of them, of the 
king being head of the church ? whereunto I answered yes. 
Then his mistership declared unto me, that since it was 
now by act of parhament ordained, that his highness and 
his heirs be, and ever of right have been and perpetuall}' 
should be, supreme head on earth of the church of Eng- 
land imder Christ, the king's pleasure was, that those of 
his council there assembled, should demand mine opinion, 
and what my mind was therein. 

' Whereunto I answered, that in good faith I had well 
trusted, that the king's highness would never have com- 
manded any such question to be demanded of me, con- 
sidering that I ever from the beginning well and truly, from 
time to time, declared my mind unto his highness ; and 
since that time, I said, unto your mistership, Mr. Secretary, 
also, both by mouth and by writing. And now I have in good 
faith discharged my mind of all such matters, and neither 
will dispute kings' titles nor popes'. But the king^s true, 
faithful subject I am, and will be ; and daily I pray for him 
and all his, and for you all who are of his honourable council. 

Vol. I. D d 


ami for nil the realm. And otherwise than thh I never in- 
tend to meddle. 

' ^Vliercunto Mr. Secretary answered, that he thought 
this manner of answer should not satisfy nor content the 
kind's hiijrhness ; but that his grace would exact a more full 
answer. And his mistership added thereunto, that the 
king's highness was a prince, not of rigour, but of mercy 
and ]jity. And tliough that he had found obstinacy at 
some time in any of his sul)jects, yet when he should find 
them at another time conformable and submit themselves, 
his grace would shew mercy. And that, concerning my- 
self, his highness would be glad to see me take such con- 
formable wa3's, as I might be abroad in the world again 
among other men, as 1 have been before. 

' Whereunto 1 shortly, after the inward affection of my 
mind, answered, for a very truth, that I would never meddle 
in the world again to have the world given me. And to the 
renmant of the matter I answered in effect as before; shew- 
ing that I had fully determined with myself, neither to study 
nor meddle with any matter of this world ; but that my 
whole study should be, upon the passion of Christ and 
mine own passage out of this world. 

' Upon this I was commanded to go forth for a while, 
and afterward called-in a<2;ain. At "which time Mr. Secre- 
tary said unto me, that though I were a prisoner condemn- 
ed to perpetual prison, yet I was not thereby discharged 

SIR T. MORE. 203 

of luine obedience and allegiance unto the kind's hishncss. 
And thereupon demanded me, ^vhether that I thought, that 
the king's grace might not exact of me such things as are 
contained in the statutes, and upon like pains as he might 
upon other men ? Whereto I answered, that I would not 
say the contrary. Whereunto he said, tJiat likewise as the 
king's highness would be gracious to them whom he found 
conformable, so his grace would follow the course of his 
laws toward such as he shall find obstinate. And his mis- 
tership said farther, that my demeanour in that matter, Avas 
a thing which of likelihood made others so stiff therein as 
they be. 

' Whereto I answered, that I gave no man occasion to 
hold any point, one or other ; nor never gave any man ad- 
vice or counsel therein, one way or other. And for con- 
clusion, I could no farther go, whatsoever pain should 
come thereof. lam, quoth I, the king's true faithful suh- 
ject and daily bedesman ; and pray for his highness and all 
Ins, and all the rcabn. I do nobody harm, I say none harm, 
I think none harm, but zcish everybody good. And if this 
be not enough to keep a man alive, in good faith I long not 
to live. And I am dying already y and have, since I came 
here, been divers times in the case, that I thought to die 
within one hour. And, I thank our Lord ! I was never sorry 
for it ; but rather sorry when I saw the pang past. And 
therefore, my poor, body is at the king's pleasure ; would (Jod 
my death might do him good I 

D d 2 

504 Ml'MOIIlS OF 

' After this Mr. Secretary «aid, rccU, youjind no fault in 
that statute, Jind you any in any of the other statutes af/cr ? 
W'liercto I answered, sir, zchatsoever thing should seem to 
me other than good in any of the other statutes, or in that 
statute either, I ivould not declare what fault I found, nor 
speak thereof. AVhereunto finally liis niisterslii|) said full 
gently, that of anything which 1 had spoken there should 
none advantage be taken. And whether he said farther 
tliat there was none to be taken, I am not well remember- 
ed ; but he said, that report should be made unto the king's 
highness, and his gracious pleasure known. 

' ^Vhereupon I was delivered again to Mr. Lieutenant, 
-who was then called-in ; and so was I, by Mr. Lieutenant, 
brought again into my chamber. And here am I yet, in 
such case as 1 was, neither better nor worse. That that 
shall follow, lieth in the hand of God. "\\ honi I beseech, 
to put in the king's grace's mind that thing which may be 
to his high pleasure; and in mine, to mind only the weal 
of my soul, Avith little regard of my body ; and you, with 
all yours and my wife and all my children, and all our other 
friends both bodily and ghostly, heartily well to fare. And 
I pray you and them all, pray for me, and take no thought 
whatsoever shall happen me. For I verily trust in the 
goodness of God, seem it never so evil to this world, it 
shall indeed in another world be for the best. 

Your loving father, 


SIR 'J'. MORK. 205 

' Our Lord bless you and all ijours ! 

' Forasmuch, dearly beloved daughter, as it is likely, 
that you either have heard, or shortly shall hear, that the 
council were here this day and that I was before them, I 
have thought it necessary to send you word how the mat- 
ter standeth. And verily, to be short, I perceive little dif- 
ference between this time and the last. For, as far as I 
can see, the whole purpose is, either to drive me to say 
precisely the one way, or else precisely the other. 

' Here sat my lord of Canterbury, my lord chancellor, 
my lord of Sutlolk, my lord of Wiltshire, and Mr. Secre- 
tary. And after my coming, Mr. Secretary made rehearsal, 
in whatwise he had reported unto the king's highness what 
had been said by his grace's council to me, and what had 
been answered by me to them, at mine other being before 
them here last ; which thing his mistership rehearsed, in 
good faith, very Avell, as I acknowledged, and confessed, 
and heartily thanked him therefore. A\ hereupon he added 
thereunto, that the king's highness was nothing content nor 
satisfied with mine answer ; but thought, that by my de- 
meanour 1 had been occasion of much grudge and harm 
in the realm, and that 1 had an obstinate mind and an evil 

toward him, and that my duty was, being his subject 

and so he had sent them now, in his name, upon mine al- 
legiance, to command me ■ to make a plain and a ter- 
minate answer, whether 1 thought the statute lawful or not; , 


and that I should cither acknowledge and confess it lawful 
that his highness should be supreme head of the church of 
England, or else utXer plainly n)y malignity. 

' Whereto I answered, that I had no malignit\', and there- 
fore I ct)uld none utter. And as to the matter, 1 could none 
other answer make than I had before made ; which answer 
his mistcrship had there rehearsed. A'erv heavy I was, that 
the king's highness should have an}' such opinion of me. 
liowbeit if there were one who had inlbrmed his highness 
many evil things of me which were unti'ue, — to which his 
highness for the time gave credence, — I would be very sorry 
that he should have that opinion of mc the space of one 
day; howbeil if I Mere sure, that other should come on 
the morrow l^y Avhom his giace should know the truth of 
mine innocency, 1 should in the meanwhile comfort myself 
Avith consideration of that. And in likewise now, though 
it be great heaviness to me that his highness hath such opi- 
nion of me for the m hile, yet have I no remedy to help it ; 
but only to comfort myself with this consideration, that I 
know very well that the time shall come, when Cod shall 
declare my truth toward his grace before him and all the 
world. And whereas it might haply seem to be but small 
cause of comfort, Ijccause 1 might take harm here first in 
the meanwhile, I thanked Cod that my case was such here 
in this u)atter, through the clearness of mhie own con- 
science, that tht)ugh I might have pain, 1 could not have 
liarm ; for a man njay in such a case lose his head, and 
have none harm. For 1 was very sure that 1 had no cor- 

SIR T. MORE. 20r 

rupt afllection, but that I hud alway from the beginning 
truly used myself, looking first upon God and next upon 
the king; according to the lesson which his highness taudit 
me at my first coming to his noble service, the most virtu- 
ous lesson which ever prince taught his servant. Whose 
highness to have of me now such opinion, is my great 
heaviness ; but I have no mean, as I said, to help it. But 
only comfort myself in the meantime with the hope of the 
joyful day, in which my truth toward him shall well be 
known. And in this matter farther I could not so, nor 
other answer thereto I could not make. 

' To this it was said, by my lord chancellor and Mr. Se- 
cretary both, that the king might by his laws compel me 
to make a plain answer thereto, cither the one wa}^ or the 
other. Whereto I answered, that I would not dispute the 
king's authority what his highness might do in such a case ; 
but I said, that verily, under correction, it seemed to me 
somewhat hard. For if it so were tliat my conscience save 
me against the statute (wherein how my conscience giveth 
me I make no declaration), then I nothina; doino- nor no- 
thing saying against the statute, it were a very hard thing 
to compel mo to say, either precisely with it against m}^ 
conscience to the loss of my soul, or precisely against it to - 
the destruction of my body. 

' To this Mr. Secretary said, that I had ere this, when 
I Avas chancellor, examined heretics and thieves, and other 
malefactors ; and gave me a great praise above my deserv- 


ing in that behalf. And he said that I then, as he thought, 
and at the leastwise bishops, did use to examine heretics 
whether they believed the pope to be head of the church, 
and used to compel them to make a precise answer thereto. 
And Avhv should not then the kins;, since it is a law made 
here that his grace is head of the church here, compel men 
to answer precisely to the law here, as they did then con- 
cerning the pope ? 

' I answered, and said that I protested that I intended 
not to defend my part or stand in contention ; but, I said 
there was a difference between those two cases. Because 
that at that time, as well here as elsewhere through the 
corps of Christendom, the pope's power was recognised for 
an undoubted thing; which seemeth not like a thing agreed 
in this realm, and the contrary taken for truth in other 

' Whereto Mr. Secretary answered, that they were as 
well burned for the denying of that, as they be beheaded 
for the denying of this ; and therefore as good reason to 
compel them to make precise answer to the one as to the 
other. "Whereto I answered, that since in this case a man 
is not by a law of one realm so bound in his conscience, 
where there is a law of the whole corps of Christendom to 
the contrary, in a matter touching belief, as he is by a law 
of the whole corps, though there Jiap to be made in some 
place a law local to the contrary, — the reasonableness or 
the unreasonableness in binding a man to precise answer, 

SIR T. :\IORE. 209 

stantleth not in the respect or difFerenee between heading 
and burning; but, because of the ditFerence in charge of 
conscience, the difference standeth between heading: aud 

' Much was there answered unto this, both by Mr. Se- 
cretary and ray lord chancellor, — overlong to rehearse. 
And in conclusion, they offered me an oath, by which 1 
should be sworn to make true answer to such tliiniis as 
should be asked me, on the king's behalf concerning the 
king's own person, \yhereto I answered, that veiily I 
never purposed to swear any book-oath more, wliile I lived. 
Then they said, tliat I was very obstinate if I would refuse 
that ; for every man doth it in the star-chamber, and every- 
where. I said, that was true. But I had not so little fore- 
sight, but that I might well conjecture what should be part 
of mine interrogatories ; and as good it was to refuse them 
at the first, as afterward. 

' Whereto my lord chancellor answered, that he thouo-ht 
I guessed truth, — for I should see them. And so they were 
shewn me ; and they were but twain, — the first, whether I 
had seen the statute ; the other, whether I believed tliat it 
were a lawful-made statute or not. \Vhercupon I refused 
the oath ; and said farther by mouth, that the first I had 
before confessed, and to the second I would make none an- 
swer. Which was the end of our communication, and I 
was thereupon sent away. 

Vol. I. E e 


' In the communication betbre, it was said, that it was 
marvelled, tliat I stack so much in my conscience while at 
the uttermost I was not sure therein. Whereto I said, that 
I was very sure that mine own conscience, so inlbrmed as 
it is by such diligence as I have so long taken therein, may 
stand with mine own salvation. I meddle not with the con- 
science of thcni who think otherwise ; every man suo damno 
stat aut cadit, I am no man's judge. 

* Tt was also said unto me, that if I had as lief be out 
of the world as in it, as I had there said, why did I not 
then speak even plain out against the statute? It appeared 
well I was not content to die, though I said so. AVhcreto 
I answered, as the truth is, that I have not been a man of 
such holy living, as I might be bold to ofl'er myself to death, 
lest God for my presumption n)iglit sufter me to fall ; and 
therefore I put not myself forward, but draw back. How- 
bcit if God draw me to it himself, then trust I in his great 
mercy, that he shall not fail to give me grace and strength. 

' In conclusion, Mr. Secretary said, that he liked me 
this day much worse than he did the last time, lor then, 
he said, he pitied me much ; and now, he thought, I meant 
not well. But God and I know both, that I mean well ; 
and so I pray God do by me ! I pray you, be you and 
mine other good friends of good cheer, whatsoever fall of 
me ; and take no thought for me, but pray for me, as I do 
and shall for you and all them. 

Your tender, loving father, 


Sm T. MORE. §11 

It xvas soon after this that Rich, then newlj made the 
king's sohcilor, Sir Richard Soutliwell, and one Palmer, 
servant to Cromwell, were sent to More to take his books 
from him.* Tlie knight had sometime previously, saith his 
great-grandson, begun a divine treatise of the passion of 
Christ; but when he came to expound the words they laid 
hands upon him and held him, these gentlemen took from 
him all his books, ink, and paper. More hereupon de- 
voted himself wholly to meditation, and closed his chamber 
windows. And when the lieutenant of the Tower inquired 
of him his reason for so doing, More answered, xislien all 
the wares are gone the shop-windows may be shut. He still, 
however, contrived to procure scraps of paper, on which 
he now wrote with a coal ; and one of these scraps, a pre- 
cious jezoel, as he calls it, his great-grandson inherited. 

It hath been supposed by some, tliat Rich was sent on 
this occasion with a view to entangle More if possible in a 
dispute ; and if nothing could fairly be deduced from their 
conversation to the knight's prejudice, that the solicitor was 
at any rate to have accused More falsely. But a design of 
this kind, although it be by no means inconsistent with the 
character of Henry's court, must now rest upon our con- 
jectures only, antl cannot be expected at this distant day 
to admit of tresh proof. 

Certain it is, that while Southwell and Palmer were pack- 
ing the books, Rich, pretending familiar conversation with 

* Roper. 

Ee 2 


More, said to him, since he was learned in tlie law and 
otherwise, uiight he put the (juestion to iiim, // there xvas 
an act of parliament that the realm should take me for Icing, 
zioiild not you take mc for king ? 

Yes sir, replied More, that zvould I. 

I put the case farther, said Rich. TVcre there an act of 
parliament that all the realm should take me for pope, would 
not you then take me for pope ? 

ISlore replied, the parliament might well meddle with the 
state of temporal princes, but to answer the other case, he 
would put this case. Suppose the parliament would make a 
law that God should not be God, would you then Mr. Rich 
say that God were not God ? 

No sir, replied Rich, that would I not ; since no parlia- 
ment may make any such law. 

Here, according to Mr. Roper, the conversation ended. 
But Rich when called upon at INIore's trial falsely reported, 
that the knight rejoined to this answer, no more could the 
parliament make the king supreme head of the church. 

When More was arraigned at the King's-bench bar, he 
had been for above a year in prison. His bodily strength 
had been materially impaired, having experienced returns 
of the complaint in his breast, and new attacks of the 



gravel and stone.* Weak and emaciated, he leaned on a 
crutch Avhen he went to this trial, yet his couiiieadiice was 
firm and cheerful. He was tried, probably by special com- 
mission, before 

Cliancellor Aiidlcy, 
Chief-justice Fitzjanaes, 
Sir John Bildwin, 
Sir Richard Leister, 
Sir Jolia Port, 
Sir John Spilraan, 
Sir Walter Luke, 
Sir Anthony Fitzherbert. 

His jury, for their names too deserve to be recorded to 
their infamy, were 

Sir Thomas Palmer, 
Sir Thomas Peirt, 
George Lovell, 
Thomas Burbage, 
Geoffrey Chamber, 
Edward Stockmore, 
William Browne, 
Jasper Leake, 
Thomas Billington, 
John Parnel, 
Richard Bellame, 
George Stoakes.t 



The indictment was so long, that More declared he could 

* Eng. works, p. 1434. ^ More. 


scarcely vemcmbcr a tliml part of what was objected against 
him.* Ilis chief" crime was, his refusal of the oath as we 
have already seen ; wliich was termed ma/iciotis, trriito7-ous, 
ond diabolkal. IJis two examinations in the Towit, with 
the declarations he then made, were adduced in proof of 
the charge. And it was allesjjeil, that he had written letters 
to bishop Fisher, to bias tliat prelate likewise ; for his an- 
swers resembled those made l>y More. Upon the whole, it 
was concluded, that the knight was a traitor to his j^rince 
and to the irahn, for denying the king's supreme juristlic- 
tion in ecclesiastical government. 

The reader who hath marked the character of Henry's 
reign, will already have anticipated the result of this trial. 
For he needeth not to be told, that this prince made his 
will a rule forjudges and even juries ; that he sported with 
law aiul common-sense on all occasions ; that his parlia- 
ments followed his caprices with servility ; and that they as 
well as himself were lost to all sense of shame. The fate 
of Sir Tiiomas More is a striking, among many other la- 
mentable cxemplihcations of these horrid truths. 

After the indictment had been read to him, the duke of 
Norfolk said to More, you iee now how grievously you have 
offended his tjiajesty. Yet he is so merciful, that if you will 
lay aside your obstinacy and change your opinion, we hope 
you may obtaiu pardon of his highness. 

* Pole. 

SIR T. IVrORE. 215 

To this, continues the great-grandson, the stout champion 
of Christ repUed, most noble lords, I have great cause to 
thank your honours for this your courtesy. But I beseech Al- 
mighty God, that I may continue in the mind I am in, through 
his grace, unto death. 

For the former part of More's defence we are indebted 
to Stapleton, from whose Latin we will translate the knight's 

' When I recollect the length of my accusation, and the 
weight of what is objected against nie, 1 am apprehensive 
that my understanding, my memory, and my power ot ut- 
terance, may fail me in making due answer to the w Ik;!.- ; 
so am I still affected by the bodilj^ weakness which I iiave 
suffered from my imprisonment.' 

Here a seat was ordered to be brought the knight. Ii 
ing seated himself, he thus proceeded. 

' There be four divisions, if I mistake not, of my indict- 
ment ; which I will answer in order. 

' To the FIRST, that I was averse to his majesty's second 
marriage, I candidly own, I ever disapproved this marriage 
to the king. Nor am I noAV inclined to say or think other- 
wise of it than I have done, for the dictate of my con- 
science is still the same. This dictate I was neither inchned 
of my own accord to conceal frgm bis majesty, nor ought 

€19 MrMOmS OF 

I to have clone so wlicn the triilli was domandecl of me ; 
and no suspicion of treason can on this occasion attach it- 
self to ine. On tlie contrary. IxMn"- asked a (iue>li(jn of 
Mich moment by jny prince, on which his lionour and the 
tranquility of his kingdom de|)endcd, hail 1 spoken with 
more regard to comj)liance Aviih his wislies than to truth, I 
should then with justice have been accused of what I am 
now accused, of malevolence, wickedness, treachery. 

* But even for this fault of mine, if it be a fault in man 
to speak the truth to his prince when he asks it, 1 have al- 
ready surt'ered se\ere punishment. I have been proscribed 
from all intercourse with mankind, and continually innnur- 
cci in prison lor nearly hlteen months. 

' A SECOND head of my indictment is, that I am amen- 
able to punishuicit tor the violation of an act of parlia- 
nietit. lor, when in jnison, of n)y malevolence, Avicked- 
ness, treachery, I sought to detract Irom the honour due to 
his majesty as recognised by that act in his new title, szf- 
j)iij)!t htad oil earih of the church oj E/ighuuL 

' AVhat opinion did I utter regarding this act, when twice 
questioned in piibon by Mr. Secretary and others of his 
majesty's council, that I hould be said to have detracted 
frou), or to lia\e denied, this new authority? I would give 
no otlier answer ihun, that the act, just or unjust, pertain- 
ed not to nie, who was dead in law, and was no longer 
bomid to answer to statutes A\liich 1 should never more use; 

SIR T. MORE, 217 

yet that neither by word or deed had I ever done anything 
derogatory to the act, and therefore I could not with justice 
be condemned for a Jaw against which it could not be ob- 
jected to me that I had either acted or spoken ; that, re- 
jecting every other care, I wished to turn my thoughts for 
the time to come to the bitter passion of my Saviour, and 
to my own passage from this life. 

' I own I made this ansAver. But I maintain that this 
law or act was by no means violated by such answer, nor 
any capital offence committed by it. Neither your laws, 
nor those of the whole world, can criminate mere silence. 
They are made for words and actions; God alone can judge 
of secret thoughts.' 

Here the king's counsel remarked, that More's silence 
was a sure sign of his evil disposition and a certain proof 
of his malice ; for no man in the kingdom well-affected to- 
ward his majesty, being interrogated as to this act, would 
refuse to declare his opinion categorically. 

' My silence,' replied More, ' is neither a sign of any 
evil disposition in me, as his majesty may know b}- many 
proofs, neither doth it bear any conviction of a breach of 
your law. It is to be taken for assent rather than dissent, 
witness the lawyers' phrase, who is silent seemeth to consent. 
As to your inference respecting the duty of a good subject 
from the example of all England, I am of opinion, that it 
is the duty of such a one, uliless he would be a bad chris- 

VoL. I. F f 


tian at thf^ same time tliat he is a good suliject, to ol)cy 
God rather thafi man ; to have more care of his conscience 
and the preservation of his soul, than of any other thing 
wliatever. Especially when, which is certainly my case, 
his conscience is such, as to produce not the smallest of- 
fence, no scandal, no sedition to his 'prince. For 1 solemn- 
ly athrni, that I never opened this conscience of mine to 
any mortal living/ 

' I come now to the third head of my indictment. 
By Avhich 1 am accused, against the constitution of my 
my country, to have violated an act of parliament ; having 
maliciously endeavoured, wickedly contrived, and treacher- 
ously practised, so saith the indictment, to interchange 
eight letters in prison with the bishop of Rochester, where- 
in I persuaded him against this law and incited him to op- 
pose it. 

* I earnestly desire that these letters may be produced 
and read, for they will either condemn or acquit me. But 
since you say that the bishop burnt then), I will not hesi- 
tate to repeat to you what they contained. Some of them 
Avere full of our private aft'airs and related to our old and 
intimate friendship. One contained my answer to his let- 
ter of inquiry, what reply I had made in prison to the 
king's counsellors on this new subject. 'Jo this I made no 
other answer, than that I had made-up my own mind, and 
he might make-up his. So God love me and preserve my 
soul as 1 wrote him nothing else, and as God is my witness 

sill T. MORE. afS 

this and nothing else is the truth !• Thus is there nothing in 
this instance neither which I have conimittcd, contrary to 
law and worthy of death. 

' The FOURTH and last allegation against me is, that 
when I was examined concerning this law in prison, I said, 
it was like a two-edged sword ; who opposed it destroyed 
his body, who consented to it, confounded his soul. From 
which kind of answer, because the bishop of Rochester 
likewise made it, it was asserted that we had evidently con- 
spired in the matter. 

' I answer that this expression was more qualified on my 
part. Namely, that I said, in either case there was danger, 
whether I approved or disapproved the law, and therefore 
it was like a two-edged sword, which wielded cutteth both 
ways ; and the condition seemed peculiarly severe in ex- 
tending to myself, who contradicted it neither by word nor 
deed. These were 7ny words ; how the bishop answered I 
know not. If his reasoning agreed with mine, it hath arisen 
from no collusion, but rather from our similar thouo-hts and 
studies. In short, ye ma}' rest satisfied, that I have never 
spoken to any mortal living against this constitution, al- 
though perhfijis some false reports may have been made on 
the subject to the king's most merciful majesty.' 

Though no farther answer was now made to More, the 
word malice, saiih Ins great-grandson, Avas in the mouth of 
the whole court. And as a final proot of the knight's "uiit, 

F f 2 


Rich was now called, lo relate upon oath the conversation 
which we have already noticed. Mr, Roper hath preserved 
the answer of More upon this occasion in his very words, 
as reported to him by credible eye witnesses. 

' If I was a man my lords,' said the knight, ' who did 
not regard an oath, I needed not, as it is well known, stand 
in this place, and at this time, nor in this case, as an ac- 
cused person. And it" this oath of yours Mr. Rich be true 
then I pray that I never see God in the face, which I would 
not say were it otherwise, to win the whole world.' 

Here More gave the court the true account of his con- 
versation with Rich in the Tower ; and then he proceeded, 

' In good faith, Mr. Rich, I am sorrier for your perjury, 
than for mine own peril. And you shall understand, that 
ntither I, nor no man else to my knowledge, ever took you 
to be a man of such credit, as, in any matter of import- 
ance, I, or any other, would at any time vouchsafe to com- 
municate with you. And I, as you know, of no small 
while have been acquainted with you and your conversa- 
tion, who have known you from your youth hitherto, for 
we long dwelt together in one parish. Where, as yourself 
can tell (I am sorry you compel me so to say) you were 
esteemed very light of your tongue, a great dicer, and of 
no commendable fame. And so, in your house at the 

SIR T. MORE. 221 

Temple, where hath been your chief bringing-up, were you 
hkewise accounted. 

* Can it therefore seem likely to your honourable lord- 
ships, that I would in so weighty a cause so unadvisedly 
overshoot myself, as to trust Mr. Rich, a man of me alway 
reputed of little truth as your lordships have heard, so far 
above my sovereign lord the king or any of his noble coun- 
sellors, that I would unto him utter the secrets of ray con- 
science touching the king's supremacy, the special point 
and only mark at my hands so long sought-for, a thing 
which I never did nor never would, after the statute there- 
of made, reveal unto the king's highness himself, or to any 
of his honourable counsellors, as it is not unknown unto 
your honours, at sundry several times sent from his owa 
person to the Tower to me, for none other purpose ? Can 
this, in your judgment ray lords, seem likely to be true ? 

• And yet, if I had so done indeed, my lords, as Mr. 
Rich hath sworn, seeing it was spoken but in secret fami- 
liar talk, nothing affirming, and only in putting of cases, 
without other displeasant circumstances, it cannot justly 
be taken to be spoken inalidously . And where there is no 
malice, there can be no otlence. And over this, I can 
never think my lords, that so many worthy bishops, so 
many honourable personages, and so many other worship- 
ful, virtuous, wise, and learned men, as at the making of 
that law were in that parliament assembled, ever meant to 
have any man punished by death in whom there could be 


found no malice ; taking malitia for malcvoleiiiia. I'or if 
vialitia be generally taken for siu, no man is there then 
who can excuse himself; qiihi si dixcrimus quod pcccatum 
7wn hubemus, nosmct ipsos scducemus et Veritas in nobis non 
est. And moreover this word maliviously is in this statute 
material; as the term /o/t/Tj/c is in the statute o^ forcible 
cnir^sse. By which statute, if a man enter peaceably and 
put not his adversaries out /b;"c/7>///, it is no oti'ence ; but if 
lie put them out ^"oj-c/Y»/y, then by the statute it is an of- 
fence, and so shall he be punished by this term forcibh/. 

' Beside this, the manifold goodness of the king's high- 
ness himself, — who hath been so many ways my singular 
good lord, and who hath so dearly loved and trusted me; 
oven at my very first coming into his honourable service, 
to the dignity of his honourable privy council Vouchsafing 
to admit -me, and to oflices of great credit and worship 
most liberally advancing me ; and finally, with the weighty 
room of his grace's high chancellor (the like whereof he 
never did to temporal man before), next to his own royal 
person the highest officer in this noble realm, so far above 
my qualities or merits able and meet therefore, of his own 
incomparable benignity honouring and exalting me ; by the 
space of twenty years and more shewing his continual fa- 
vour toward me; and (until at mine own poor suit it pleasdd 
his highness, giving me licence with his majesty's favour 
to bestow the lesiduc of my life for the provision of my 
soul in the service of Cod, of his special goodness to 
discharge and disburthcn me), most benignly heaping ho- 

SIR T. MORE. 223 

nours continually more and more upon me, all this his 

highness' goodness I say, so long thus continually extended 
toward me, were in my mind, my lords, matter sufficient 
to convince this slanderous surmise, by this man so wrong- 
fully imagined ag linst me.' 

Rich now desired that his companions, Southwell and' 
Palmer, should be examined relative to his conversation 
with More. When they had been sworn they either o'f 
them deposed, that being employed in conveying away the 
knight's books as they had been ordered, they paid no at- 
tention to the conversation which was passing. 

The jury, however, speedily found More guilty ; and 
the chancellor, More's immediate successor, was 'proceed^ 
ing, as chief commissioner, with no less' hasty servility to 
pronounce judgment upon him, when the knight observed, 
that in his time it was customary in such a case, to ask the 
prisoner before judgment, what he could say why judgment 
should not be given against him. The chancellor hereupon 
demanded of More wiiat he was able to say m this in- 
stance to the contrary ? and More, according to Mr. lloper, 
thus replied to him. 

' Forasmuch, my lords, as this indictment is grounded 
upon an act of parliainent directly repugnant to the laws 
of God and his holy church, — the supreme government 
whereof, or any part thereof, may no temporal prince pre- 
sume by any law to take upon him, as rightfully belonging 


to the see of Rome, a spiritual pre-eminence, by the mouth 
of our Saviour liimsclf, persoually present upon the earth, 
only to S'. Peter and his successors, bishops of the same 

see, by special preroj^ative granted it is therefore, in 

law, among christian men, insufficient to charge any chris- 
tian man.' 

The knight added, that as the city of London could not 
make a law against an act of parliament which bound the 
whole realm, neither could this realm make a particular 
.law incompatible with the general law of Christ's universal 
catholic church ; that it was contrary to the unrepealed 
statutes of the country, for, by Magna Charta, ecclcsia 
Anglicana, lil»a sit, et liabeat omnia sua jura integra et il- 
l(csa : that it was contrary also to tlie oath taken by Henry 
and every other christian prince at his coronation ; that no 
ziiorc might England retuse obedience to the see of Rome, 

than a child to its natural father ' for, as S'. Paul said 

to the Coiintliians, I have regenerated ye mij children in 
Christ, so might S'. Gregory, pojie of Rome (suice by S'. 
Augustin, his messenger, we first received the christian 
faith), of us Englishmen tiuly say, ye are my children, be- 
cause I have, under Christ, given to ye everlasting salvation, 
afar higher and better inheritance than any carnal father 
can leave to his children, and by regeneration have made ye 
spiritual children in Christ ' 

The chancellor here repeated the old remark, that since 
the bisliops, universities, and best learned had subscribed 

SIR T. MORE. 225 

to the act, it was wonclcit'ul that he alone would oppose 
them all and argue so strongly against it. 

' If the number of bishops and universities be so mate- 
rial/ replied More, ' as your lordship seemeth to take it, 
then see I little cause, my lord, why that thing in my con- 
science should make any change. For I nothing doubt, 
but that, though not in this realm, yet in Christendom 
about, of those well-learned bishops and virtuous men who 
be yet alive, they be not the fourth part who be of your 
opinion therein. But if I should speak of those who be 
dead, of whom many be now holy saints in heaven, I am 
very sure it is the far greater part of them, who, all the 
while they lived thought in this case that way which I now 
think. And therefore am I not bound, my lord, to con- 
form my conscience to the counsel of our realm, against' 
the general counsel of Christendom.' 

The chancellor at length asked the opinion of the chief- 
justice, if the indictment were sufficient. Fitz-james re- 
plied with his usual oath, my lords all, by S'. Julian, J must 
needs confess, that if the act of parliament be not unlawful^ 
then is the indictment in my conscience good. An answer 
upon which More's great-grandson remarketh, that it re- 
sembled that of the Scribes and Pharisees to Pilate ; if this 
man were not a malefactor^ we would never have delivered 
him unto you. 

The chancellor now proceeded to pronounce the usuiU^ 
Vol. I. G g 


sentence of" liani;ing, chawing-, and (luarU-riui; ; loi- wliicli 
llcniy VI 11 lialli been pronounce<l by Paulus Jovins, a se- 
cond Plialaris. In consideration, however, of the high of- 
fices which More had filled, this sentence was afterwaid 
mitigated to /W/t'flf//«i>- ; a sul>iect which still afforded the 
undismayed knight an opportunity of jesting. forlr'id, 
he said, that the h'nts; slionld use ant/ more siicfi inero/ unto 
unt/ of mji fiunuh^ and God /dess all nnj posferifi/ from such 

If we may credit Stapleton, ^Joic said after his judg- 
ment was passed, that since he stood condemned, how jnst- 
ly God knew, to disburthen his conscience lie would now 
freely speak what he thought of the late proceedings. When 
he perceived that the state of this kingdonj retpiired the 
investigation "v^hence the power of the Roman pontiff was 
derived, he directed his' attention and study for seven whole 
years to the subject. But to this day could he never dis- 
cover in any learned writer approved by the church, that 
a layman ever had been, or ever could l)e, head of the 

Tiie chancellor is said here again to have remarked, that 
the knight arrogated to liimself more wisdom and integrity 
than the whole realm beside ; and More again to have re- 
plied, that against one bishop he could name him an ijun- 
dred, and against one realm the consent of all Christendom 
for more than a thousand years. ]>ioro Sir Thomas, exclaini- 

• More. 

SIR T. MORE/ 227 

ed the duke of Norfolk, you shew your malice; to which 
More answered, that he only discharged his conscience.* 

The commissioners now offered ]\Iore a favourable hear- 
ing, if he had anything farther to offer in his defence. 

' More have I not to say my lords,' replied the knight, 
' but that, like as the blessed apostle S'. Paul, as we read 
in the Acts of the Apostles, was present and consented to 
the death of S'. Stephen, and kept their clothes who stoned 
him to death, — and yet be they now both twain holy saints 
in heaven, and shall continue tlierc friends together for 
ever so I verily trust, and shall therelbre right hearti- 
ly pray, that though your lordships have now here on earth 
been judges to my condemnation, we may yet hereafter in 
heaven all meet together, to everlasting salvation.j- 

Tlius did the knidit receive the sentence of condemna- 
tion with that equal temper of mind v.hicli he had discover-. 
ed in either condition o[' life ; and Jie now devoted himself 
■wholly to prepare lor death, which we shall find proved 
little terrible to him. 

Sir "William Kingston, a tall, strong, and comely knight 
(as Mr. Roper calls him), and Mora's very dear friend, at- 
tended the knight, as constable of the Tower, on his re-, 
turn thither. At the Old Swan, with a heavy heart, tears 
running down his cheeks, he wished More farewell. 

• More. t Roper. 

G g 2 

^ifS ]\[t:.MOIRS OF 

' Sir Thomas More,' continues Mr. Roper, ' seeing him 
so sorrowiiil, comforted him with as good words as he could, 
saying, good Mr. Kingston, trouble not yourself, but be of 
good cheer. For I will pray for you and my good lady your 
ZiiJ'e, thai we may meet in heaven together, zchere zmc shall 
be merry for ever and ever. Soon afterward. Sir AVilham 
Kingston, talking with rae of Sir Thomas More, said, in 
goodfaihli Mr. Roper I zcas ashamed of myself, that, at my 
departing from your father, I found my heart so feeble, and. 
his so .strong, that he was fain to comfort me, who should 
rather have comforted him.' 

A scene 3ct more tender occurred before the knight 
reached the Tower, and which a])|)earcth not unworthy of 
the artist's jiencil. IJis affectionate daughter Margaret, 
fearing that this would be her last opportunity of seeing 
her dear father in this world, awaited his coming, at the 
Tower-wharf, and on his approach, pressed forward to him 
with an ardour nearly frantic, which neither the crowd nor 
his guards could restrain. Having reached him, she clung 
round his neck and kissed him, with the utmost ardour of 
filial affection. More seemed pleased with her manner, and 
blessed and comforted her. After she had gone from him, 
she was again seized with the same enthusiasm, and re- 
lumed once more to rc-act the same tender scene, amid 
the tears of many of the spectators. 'Jhe knight's son, it 
appears, also prrsentrd hinreelf to his father and asked his 

• Roper an More. 

SIR T. MORE, 229 

Between Mores condemnation and the execution of his 
sentence, about a week intervened ; which he passed in 
prayer, and in such disciphne as his persuasion induced 
him to beheve would tend to his acceptance with his Maker.* 
Yet his usual facetiousness in worldly affairs forsook him 
not even at this awful crisis/ 

A light-headed courtier, as More's great-grandson calls 
him, having come to the knight, not to talk of serious mat- 
ters but to urge him to change his mind. Sir Thomas, wearied 
by his impertinence and importunity, at last replied I have 
changed it. The report of this soon reached the king, and 
More was commanded to explain himself. The knight now 
rebuked the courtier for troubling his majesty with what he 
spoke in jest ; his meaning he said was, that whereas he 
purposed to have been shaved, that he might appear as 
usual at his execution, he had now changed his mind, and 
his beard should share the fate of his head. 

Two of More's last letters, written with a coal, are pre- 
served in the volume of his English works. The former is 
in Latin, to Mr. Anthony Bonvyse, a rich merchant, who 
appears to have been an old and constant friend of the 
knight, and of whose kindness this is his last grateful ac- 
knowledgment ; adding after his signature Thomas Morus, 
friistra fecero si adjiciam tuus, nam hoc jam nescirc non potes 
qutim tot benejiciis emeris, nee ego nunc talis sum tit rcferat 
cujus sim. The latter, to his daughter IMargaret, was writ- 

* See More. 

'230 .MK.MOIRS Of 

1335. ten on July o''> 1535, Ihc very day before his execution, 
anil is here presented to the reader. 

Sir Thomas More to ^[rs. lioper. 

* Our Lord bless yovi good daughter, and your good hus- 
band, and your little boy, and all yours ; and all n)y ehdd- 
ren, and^U my god-eliildren and all our jiiends. 

' Recommend me when you may to my good daughter 
Cicily, whom 1 beseech our Lord to conil'ort ! and 1 send 
hei my blessing, and to all her children, and pray her to 
pray lor me. 1 send her an handkerchiel ; and God coni- 
tbrt my good son her husband ! 

' ]\Iy good daughter Daunce hath the picture in parch- 
ment which you delivered me Irom my Lady Coniers ; her 
name is on the back side. Shew her that 1 heartily pray 
her, that you may send it in niy name to her again, for a 
token from me to pray for me. 

' I like special well Dorothy Coly. I pray you be good 
unto her 1 1 would wit whether this be she whom you wrote 
me of? If not, yet I pray you be good to the other, as 
you may in her atHiction, and to my god-daughter Joan 
Aleyn too. Give her, I pray you, some kind answer; lor 
. she sued hither to me this day, to pray you be good to her. 

' 1 cumber you, good Margaret, much ; but I v.ould be 

SIR T. MOKiJ. r^I 

sorry if it should lie any longer than lo-niorrow. For it i.^ 
S'. Thomas even, and the Utas of S'. Peter; and therefore to- 
morrow long I to go to God, — it were a day very meet and 
convenient for me. I never liked your manner toward me 
better than when you kissed me last; for I love when daugh- 
terly love and dear charity hath no leisure to look to world- 
ly courtesy. Farewell my dear child and pray for me; and 
I shall for you and all your friends, that we may merrily 
meet in heaven. I thank you for your great cost. 

' I send now to my god-daughter Clement her algorism 
stone ; and I send her, and my god-son, and all hers, God's 
blessing and mine. I pray you, at time convenient, re- 
commend me to my goodson, John More. I liked well his 
natural fashion. Our Lord bless him and his good wife 
my loving daughter ! to whom I pray him be good, as he 
hath great cause; and that if the land of mine come to 
his hand, he break not my will concerning his sister Daunce. 
And our Lord bless Thomas and Austin* and all that they 
shall have/ ' :.' ' •' 

For the reasons which he gives in this letter, it was pro- 
bably at More's particular request, that the following day 
was that fixed upon for his execution. Early in the morn- 
iiig of Tuesday July 6'^ 1535, his friend Sir Thomas Pope 
came to him Avith a message Irom the king and council, 

• * John More's children. 


that he sliould suflfcr death on that mornnig before nine of 
4he clock, and tluit he might prepare himself accordingly. 

* Mr. Pope,' saitl Sir Thomas, ' for your good tidings I 
lieartily thank you. I have been alway much bounden to 
the king's highness for the benefits and honours which he 
hath stilj, from time to time, most bountifully heaped up- 
on me. And yet more bounden am 1 to his grace, for put- 
ting me into this place, where I have had convenient time 
and space to have remembrance of my end. And, so God 
help me ! niost of all, Mr. Pope, am I lx)vinden to his 
highness, that it pleaseth him so shortly to rid me from the 
miseries of this wretched world. And therefore will I not 
fail, eainestly to pray for his grace, both here and also in 
the world to come.' 

' The king's pleasure is farther,' added Pope, ' that at 
your execution you shall not use many words.' 

' Mr. Pope,' replied More, * you do well to give me 
warning of his grace's pleasure ; for otherwise, at that time, 
had 1 purposed somewhat to have spoken, but of no matter 
wherewith his grace, or any, should have had cause to be 
ofi'ended. Nevertheless, whatsoever I intended, 1 am ready 
obediently to conform myself to his grace's commandment; 
and I beseech you, good Mr. Pope, to be a mean to his 
highness, that my daughter Margaret may be at my burial.' 

' The king is content already,' said Pope, that your wife 

SIR T. MORE. 233 

and children, and other your friends, shall have hberty to 
be present thereat.' 

' O ! how much beholden then,' said More, ' am I unto 
his grace, who unto my poor burial vouchsafeth to have so 
gracious consideration.' * 

It Avas not without reason that Henry's command, he 
should not use many words, accompanied the message of 
death. He was not ignorant of More's ability as a public 
speaker, and how great his authority was among the people. 
He was sensible too of the provocation which he had given 
his prisoner ; and, judging the knight's temper by his own, 
he feared that he should be treated with the most vindictive 
and offensive freedom. But the subject on this occasion 
proved too good for his prince ; and the circumstance only 
serves to add to our contempt of Henry's conduct. 

Pope now took leave of More, and could not retiain 
from tears. 

* Quiet yourself good Mr. Pope,' said More, ' and be not 
discomforted ; for 1 trust that we shall once in heaven see 
each other full merrily, where we shall be sure to live and 
love together in joyful bliss eternally.' 

More now put-on his best clothes : which, when the 
lieutenant of the Tower saw, he advised him to take them 

• Roper. 

Vol. I. H h 

554 MEMOIRS (3F 

■off again, saying he was but a rascal who sliould have 

* AVhat. Mr. Lieutenant,' said the knight, ' shall I account 
him a rascal who shall do me this da}' so singular a bene- 
fit? Nay, 1 assure you, were it cloth of gold I should think 
it well bestowed on him, as S'. Cyprian did, who gave his 
•executioner thirty pieces of gold/ 

'J'he lieutenant, however, persuaded him to re-change his 
<]ress. Yet, of the little money which was left to hinj, the 
knight sent his executioner an angel.* 

At the appointed time, he was conducted from his prison 
•by the lieutenant of the Towei' to tlie place of execution ; 
his beard bting long, ?ays his great-grandson, his face paie 
and lean, carrytng in his hands a red cross, casting his eyes 
often toward heaien. Yet his facetiousness remained to the 
last, of which three instances are related to have passed, 
even uj)on the scaftold. On ascending this structure, be 
Ibund it so weak that it Avas ready to fall ; upon which he 
said to the lieutenant, I pray see tm tip safe, and for my 
coming donn let me shift for myself As Henry had so pru- 
tJently imposed silence upon him at this time, More only 
desired of his spectators that they would pray for him, and 
bear witness that he there suflered death in and for the 
faith of the catholic church.-f- 

• Roper. i Roper. 

SIR T. MO [IE. 233 

This said, he knelt, and repeated a psahn with grcatde- 
votion ; perhaps the 51", the 56"", or the 57'^. lie then 
rose cheerfully, and the executioner asking his forgiveness. 
More kissed him and said, thou wilt do me this day a great- 
er benefit, than ever any mortal man can be able to give me. 
Pluck-up thy spirit, man, and be not afraid to do thy office. 
My neck is very short ; take heed therefore that thou strike 
not awry, for saving thy honesty. \A hen he laid his head 
upon the block, he desired the executioner to wait till he 
had removed his hedixd, for that had never committed treason. 
' So with great alacrity and spiritual joy,' adds his great- 
grandson, ' he received the fatal blow of the axe ; which 
no sooner had severed the head from the body, but his soul 
was carried by angels into everlasting glory, where a crown 
of martyrdom was put upon him which can never fade nor 

More's behaviour in this last scene hath been censured 
by some as hght and indecent, and partaking more of the 
stoic than of the christian. The more candid, however, 
have allowed that that manner having been so natural to 
him on all occasions, it was not peculiar upon this ; but 
proved that death by no means discomposed him, and could 
not even put him out of his ordinary humour. 

His head remained for some time fixed upon a pole on 
London-bridge, until the piety of his daughter Margaret 
found an opportunity of purchasing it. She is said to have 
preserved it in a leaden box, and to have ordered its inter- 

Hh 2 


meut with her o-wn bod} in tlie Roper-vault, under a chapel 
adjoining 8'. Dunstan's, Canterbury.* Ilislx)dY was buried 
in the chapel of S'. Peter in the 'J ower, probably near bishop 
Fisher, who, like More, had appointed himselt" a tomb in 
his lifetime, Avhich his body never occupied. Some of our 
antiquaries have asserted that More's body was afterward 
removed to Chelsea by his daughter Maigaret ; but this is 
by no means satisfactorily made out, and appeals to be im- 
jirobable for more reasons than one. 

• More and Wood- 

SIE T. MORE. 237 


jinecdote. . . . Queen Ann and Cranmer indolent in More's caitse. . , . 
Effects of More's execution. . . . Sentiments of the Emperor Charles, 
Cardinal Pole, and Paulus Jovius. . . . Morels religion, bigotry, i^c, 
.... Not so extravagant as some, in his notions of the papal power. 
.... His propensity to jesting, and witty sayings. . . . His behaviour 
at his death natural. . . . His disinterestedness, and integrity ivhile 
chancellor, and virtue as a patriot minister. . . . Queen Catharine's 
opinion of More. . . . His greatness of mind, excellent temper, and 
good management of his family. . . . Other traits of his character. 
.... His learning, modesty, and benevolence. . . . His Utopia, History 
of Richard HI, epigrams, letters, and controversial writings. . . . 
£urnet's character of him as a zvriter. . . . The editions of More's 
English and Latin works. . . . His personal peculiarities. . . . His fa- 
mily. . . . Erasmus' encomium on More's house, . . . Mrs. Roper. . , . 
Her letter to her father in prison. . . . Her daughter Basset. . . . 
More's letter to GonelliLS. . . . The death of Erasmus and view of his 
character. . . . More's remonstrances with him misrepresented. 

1 T is said that when Henry received the report of More's 
execution he was playing at draughts, and Queen Ann was 
looking~on. Casting his eyes upon her, lie said ihou art the 


cause of this maii^s death ; ami soon afterward he left the 
game. He betook himself, it is added, to his chamber, and 
fell into a fit of melancholy.* 

^Vhatever credit may be due to this anecdote, those writ- 
ers who assert that Ann was instrumental to More's execu- 
tion, have probably been guided by it. Yet she was per- 
haps rather an approver of the execution than an instigator 
to it ; for it is certain that the temper of her consort, irrit- 
able and impetuous as it was, seldom stood in need of in- 
stigation to lead it to extremities. 

After having opposed the divorce and second marriage, 
INIore became an opponent of what was then termed he- 
resy ; of which Ann was a patron. If then only to remove 
an enemy to herself and her cause, we have no reason to 
doubt that the queen's voice was in favour of the execu- 
tion, ^ay, if she found the king at any time wavering in 
his resolution, she may have endeavoured to confirm him 
ill it, and thus have given ground to Henry, in the first mo- 
ments of his uneasiness, to charge her with having caused 
the knight's death. 


Cranmer, as well as Ann, had, we know, very consider- 
able influence on Henry's purposes ; and had they now ex- 
erted all this influence, they might perhaps have saved 
More's life. But it is pretty clear that the queen never 
made such an attempt, or Henry could not have reproach- 

* More. 

SIR T. MORE. 259 

ed her in this manner; and it is too probable that neither 
her majesty nor the bishop used every endeavour in their 
power to prevent an execution, Avhich fixes an indehble 
odium upon all the reformers who consented to it. 

We have at least very ample testimonies remaining to us, 
that the sacrifice of More made an impression, far be3'ond 
the limits of his own country, and of deeper stamp than it 
hath often been in the power of an individual to leave, 
who, like More, hath been conspicuous chiefly by his vir- 
tues in civil life. ]Many learned of Christendom, protest- 
ants as well as catholics, who neither feared Henry as their 
tyrant, nor hated him from private motives of animosity, 
have animadverted strongly on the cruelty of the knight's 

Upon his friend Dr. Lark, at that time rector of Chel- 
sea, More's death is said to have had so much influence, 
that he soon afterward suffered death also, for denying the 
king's supremacy.* 

Mr. Roper relates, that when the emperor CharJes re- 
ceived intelligence of More's execution, he sent for Sir 
Thomas Ehott, the English ambassador at his court, and 
said to him, we understand that the king your master hath 
put his faithful and gi-ave counsellor to death. Eliott re- 
plied, he knew nothing of the matter. JVell, said the em- 
peror, it is too true. And this uill u'e say; that had ue 

* More and Stow. 


been master of such a servant (of whose doings ourselves havt 
had these many years no small experience), zse would rather 
have lost the best city of our dominions, than have lost such a 
worthy counsellor. This anecdote, Mr. Roper adds, Sir Tho- 
mas Eliott reported to himself, to his wife, and to other 

CarcUnal Pole, to whom Italy, notwithstanding his rela- 
tionship to Henry, was the seat of safety, in his book pro 
unitate ecclesiastica, written in answer to Dr. Sampson's 
justification, by royal authority, of Henry's proceedings, 
compares ^Slore's death to that of Socrates. I have seen, 
saith Pole, even the greatest strangers, who never knew him, 
never shared his favour, so much affected by his death, that 
when they read the history of it, they could not withhold their 
tears; and they wept at the fatne only of his fate. And I 
at this distance, when writing oj his death, although I was 
not bound to him by any private ties, but loved and esteemed 
him j-ather for his virtue and probity, and because I knew his 
service to his country, yet God is my witness that I shed in- 
voluntary tears, which so impede my pen and blot my letters, 
that I proceed with difficulty."^ 

Erasmus, without naming Henry, remarks on the occa- 
sion, Plato went unhurt by the iEginans, Diogenes by Phi- 
lip of Macedon ; Antony is hated for the murder of Cicero ; 
Nero for the death of Socrates.-f* 

* Lib. iii. t Ep'st- Nucer. 


We uill add one, among many more similar testimonies, 
by Paulus Jovius, in his own words. 

' Fortuna impotens, et suo more instabilis, infaustaque 
virtuti, si unquam superbe et truculenter jocata est, sub 
Henrico VIII nuper in Britannia immanissime desa^viit; 
prostrate ante oculos Th. Moro, quem rex, paulo ante, 
praeclarus, eximine virtutis admirator, ad summos honores 
extulerat, ut inde cum, fatali oborta insania mulatus in 
feram, crudeli mox impetu praicipitem daret, quod ipsius 
furcntis tyranni nefariaj libidini, vir omnibus religionis at- 
que justitiae numeris longe optimus atque sanctissimus, adu- 
lari noluisset. Dum enim ille uxorem repudiarc, pellicem 
inducere, filiamque (Mariam) magno probro abdicare pro- 
peraret, Morus, scrinii maglster, pietatis ac innocentiaj suae 
reus, causam ad tribunal dicere coactus, impio judicio ita 
damnatus est, uti latronum more, teterrimo supplicii ge- 
nere, necaretur ; nee fas esset dilacerata membra, propin- 
quorum pietate, sepelire. Sed Henricus, vel hoc uno fa- 
cinore Phalaridis tiemulus, eripere non potuit, quin ad sem- 
piternam inusitati sceleris memoriam Mori nomeu in Uto- 
pia perenni constantia? laude frueretur/ * 

The features of More's character are too strongly mark- 
ed and prominent, to permit us to have gone thus far into 
the memoirs of his life, without being pretty fully acquaint- 
ed with it. In a general view, however, of the biography 
of even so peculiar a character as this, some traits will be 

* Elog. doct. tiror. 

Vol. I. li 


found to have less strongly impressed our attention as \vc 
proceeded, than tiic weight and worth of them may on a 
closer view appear to demand ; and we may here be aliow^- 
ed to devote a few pages to a n)ore particular review of 
certain points in that which is under our present considera- 

More's icligion naturally presents itself as a prominent 
feature on this occasion ; in reference to which he hath 
been pronounced a \CTy priest, and that here his faculties 
•were so enveloped, as to render him a weak and credulous 

The assertion may perhaps, however, be allowed to be 
little hazardous, that ]\I ore's bigotry hath proved a foil to 
his character, and that without it, he might have appeared 
less interesting on the whole in the eye of posterity. Born, 
as he had the misfortune to be, in an age of ignorance and 
superstition, at the very dawn of learning in our island, 
his ideas of religion, as Avell as those of his contemporaries, 
naturally | artock of the times in which he lived. And to 
those limes, and to the genius of the superstition in wliich 
he had been educated, Ave may very clearly attribute this 
part ot the knight's chaiacter. 

Erasmus saith of More in one place, that he was rather 
superstitious than irrelgious, and in another place, that he 
was extremely remote Irom all superbtiuon. 

SIR T. MORE. 2^3 

It hath frequently been remarked of the knight also, 
tliat in his youth he was free from that degree of bigotry, 
which grew upon him as he advanced in years. 

Yet we know that such was his addiction early in life to 
monkish discipline, that he wore secretly a hair-shirt next 
his skin, frequently fasted, slept on a bare plank, and some- 
times even scourged himself. These practices he continued 
even when he was chancellor, though, as Mr. Roper in- 
forms us, he zooiild appear like other men in his apparel and 
oiitzmi-d behaviour. His daughter Margaret was his sole 
confidant in these peculiarities. She was in the habit of 
washing with her own hands this hair-shirt for her father, 
and he sent it to her the day before his execution.* 

' His accustomed manner alway was,' saith Mr. Roper, 
ere he entered into any matter of importance, as when he 
was first chosen of the privy-council, when he was sent am- 
bassador, appointed speaker of the parliament-house, made 
chancellor, or when he took any other like weighty matter 
upon him, to go to church to be confessed, to hear mass 
and be houseled.' 

The great-grandson adds, that being once sent for by the 
king upon urgent business while he was at mass, More re- 
fused to stir till it was over, saying he inust Jirst serve God 
and then the king. ^Vith which conduct, Ave are farthe;- in- 
formed, that Henry had the merit to be pleased. 

* Roper and More. 

li 2 

eu MEMOius or 

The private devotions of More, as well at lionic as in his 
chapel, were also observed with the strictest regularity. 
His family and servants were re(|uired to participate in them 
daily, and with peculiar attention upon particular occa- 
sions. These oliservances appear to have brought those 
blessings upon his household, to which the true piety of 
them was entitled. A marked good forttine, saith Erasmus, 
attends the servants of that house. And his biographers 
have gone so far as to assert, that the pra^'ere of the knight, 
when his favourite daughter was at the point of death in 
the sweating sickness, produced the liappy effect of sug- 
gesting to his miud a remedy, which very unexpectedly led 
to the re-establishment of her health. 

Although a part of More's piety may have been in com- 
pliance with the manners of the age, it is sufficiently evi- 
dent that he had a natural propensity to devotion. Tliis, 
with all the virtues of Christianity in liis deportment, gave 
a pleasing uniformity to his public and private life. And 
before we decide that his austerity, under the notion of re- 
ligion, derogated from his general good sense, let ns advert 
once more to the times in which he lived, soon after the re- 
surrection of letters, when ignorance of scripture and bi- 
gotry to the catholic church had overspread the world. 
More inflicted not his penances upon hiniself with the ab- 
surd view of commuting them lor wilful vices ; his inten- 
tions were certainly good, and all that we have to excuse 
is, his manner of complying Avith his religion. It is true 
that he appears to have had dilierent sentiments in his 

SIR T. MORE. 245 

youth when he wrote his Utopia, and we are nowhere in- 
formed why he thought more superstitiously afterward ; 
but we must remember that were there no shades in this 
great character, it would no longer be that of man. Bur- 
net observes of this conduct in More, that it can only be 
accounted-for by ascribing it to the intoxicating charms of 
that relio-ion, Avhich can darken the clearest understandings 
and corrupt the best natures. 

Notwithstanding More's strong prejudice against the 
king's supremacy, he was certainly not so extravagant as 
some were, in his notions of the papal power. In his Con- 
futation of Tindal he writes, that he never considered the 
pope as a part of the definition of the church, but that he 
defined the church to be the common known congregation of 
all christian nations, under one head the pope. Nay, he af- 
terward atiirmeth that a general council is above the pope, 
and that there are orders in Chrises church by which a pope 
may he both admonished and ametided, and hath been for in- 
corrigible mind and lack of amendment finally deposed and 
changed* This is the very conclusion maintained by Wic- 
lif, and which was condemned by the council of Constance. 
More seemeth to have thought that a pope was not of the 
essence of the visible church, but that that church mio-ht 
subsist without a pope, under the government of provincial 
patriarchs or archbishops. 

* Eng. works, p. 615, 621. 


The maxim of Horace 

■ ridcntem diccre vcruni 

Quid vetat ? 

was SO stedfastly embraced by More, that his propensity to 
jesting hath frequently been censured by those, who had 
evidently a very small portion of his wit. One of our chro- 
niclers, Hall, with more ill-nature than wit, hath even gone 
so far as to call him on this account a wise foolish man, or a 
foolish wise man ; which severe sentence occasioned the i'ol- 
Jowing epigrams in vindication of the knight. 

Halle, tibi Morus stultus sapicnsque vidctur : 
Stultus crat mundo ncmpc, Ueo sapiens. 

Wise foolish, foolish zcise. 

To More be (illcs given 

Lei earth (lie fool despise 

His wisdom found liini Jjeaven. 

We have the satisfaction to learn from a letter of his friend 
Erasmus, that More did not love an ill-natured jest w hich 
gave another person pain. It is also related of him, that 
he never lauglicd at his own jokes ; but spoke on tl)ese oc- 
casions with so much gravity, that lew could discover by 
his look whether he was jesting or serious. 

The witty sayings attributed to More Avould form an ex- 

SIR T. MOIIK. 217 

tensive collection, if we attempted to embrace all of them 
which are now extant. An instance or two, in addition to 
those which have already occurred to our notice, may here 
amuse the reader. 

When one of the family of Manners said to More ' Jio- 
nores mutant Mores,' the knight readily retorted upon him, 
that it was true in English ; lor then it applied to Man-^ 

When a debtor to the knight, upon being asked to dis- 
charge his claim, expatiated on the uncertamty of this life, 
and the inutility of money in the grave, concluding pomp- 
ously, memento morieris, More answered him, memento Mori 

When one of his friends brought More an ill-written 
work, to receive his opinion of it previously to its publica- 
tion, the knight told hun gravely it would be better in verse. 
The man took home his book, versified it, and brought it 
again to More. Yea marry, said the knight, now it is some- 
what, for now it is rhyme ; bejore, it zc/as neither rhyme nor 

When an arrogant fellow at Bruges had given it out that 
he would aivswer whatever question could be proposed to 
him in any art whatever, More caused to be put-up utrum 
averia ca[jta in Withernamia sunt irreplegiabilia ; adding, 
that there was a person in the retinue of the English am- 

248 Mi:.M(>n{.s or 

bassador who wouUl dispute with him on the ijucslion. 
These hiw terms were worse than Coptie to the bragga- 
docio ; who knew not what reply to make, and was laugh- 
ed at. 

As to the following anecdote related by ISIore's great- 
grandson, sitjidcs penes auctores. From what wc have seen 
of the early acquaintance of More and Erasmus, the cir- 
cumstances do not appear to be very proijable. 

It is reported that he who conducted Erasmus to Eng- 
land, contrived that More and he should first meet in Lon- 
don, at the lord mayor's Udjle, neither of them knowing 
the other. At diimcr-time they fell into argument, and 
Erasmus was so shar])ly opposed by More, that at last he 
exclaimed with some choler, aiit tu Morns es ant nidlus. 
More readily replied, ant tu es Erasmus aut Diabolus. 

This story hath also been related thus. More being at 
the lord mayor's table, word was brought him that a fo- 
reigner inquired for liim. As dinner was nearly over, the 
lord mayor ordered one of his officers to take care of the 
gentleman and give him what he liked best. The officer 
took Erasnms into the lord mayor's cellar, where he chose 
to eat oysters and drink wine (drawn, as the custom then 
was, into leathern jacks). On coming to More he saluted 
him in Latin; 

More, — U7ide venis ? 

: y-- 

SUl T. MOllB. -ij^ 

Erasmus, — Ex inferis. 

More, — Quid ibi agitur ? 

Eras. — Vivis vescuiitur et hibunt ex ocreis. 

More, — An tu me noscis ? 

, X'- ' 

.Eras. — Aut tu es Morus aut nullus. 

More, — Et tu es aut Deus aut Dc£mo7i, aut incus Erasmus. 

One of More's ludicrous actions was, to employ a cut- 
purse to rob a justice while he sat on the bench, who had 
expressed an opinion that none except careless fools could 
be served so. 

More was also delighted whenever he found wit in those 
with whom he conversed. Strype, who, as we have seen, 
hath repeated more than he could have proved of the 
knight's cruelty to the reformers, tells us, in his memorials, 
he had read in an old manuscript, that More, examining 
a protestant whose name was Silver, told him in his jesting 
way silver must be tried in thejire. But quicksilver, replied 
the culprit, will not abide it. With this ready answer, adds 
Strype, the knight was so delighted, that he dismissed him. 
And the anecdote certainly proves, against Strype's own 
hypothesis, that More's cruelty was at least not such, as to 
be propitiated with difficulty. 
Vol. I. K k 


More's behaviour in the last scene of this lite, hath been 
censured by some as too hght and ludicrous lor the occa- 
sion. But the fact probably is, that tliis behaviour was so 
natural to him, and the consciousness of his integrity gave 
him such satisfaction and courage, that the scene was even- 
less mournful to the criminal than to many of his specta- 
tors. M. de S'. Evremont dwells on the courage and con- 
stancy of Pctronius Arbiter in his last monjcnts, and thinks 
he discovers in them more firmness and resolution, than in 
the deaths of Seneca, Cato, or even Socrates. Our own 
Addison hath observed on this, that tf he was so pleased 
with gaiety of humour in a dying man, he might have found, 
a much nobler instance of it in Sir Thomas More. 

• This gi-eat and learned man,' observes that chaste and' 
correct writer, ' was famous for enlivening his ordinary dis- 
courses with wit and pleasantry ; and, as Erasmus tells him 
in an epistle dedicatory, acted in all parts of life like a se- 
cond Democritus. lie died upon a point of religion, and 
is respected as a martyr by that side for which he suffered. 
That innocent mirth which had been so conspicuous in his 
life, did not forsake him to the last. Pie maintained the 
same cheerfulness of heart upon the scaffold, which he used 
to shew at his table ; and, upon laying his head on the 
block, gave instances of that good humour with which he 
had alway entertained his friends in the most ordinary oc- 
currences. His death was of a piece with his life, — there 
was nothing in it new, forced or affected. He did not look 
upon the severing liis head from his body as a circumstance 

SIR T. MORE. 251 

which ought to produce any change in the disposition of 
his mind ; and as he died under a fixed and settled hope 
of immortality, he thought any unusual degree of sorrow 
and concern improper on such an occasion as had no- 
thing in it which could deject or terrify him. There is no 
great danger of imitation fi-om this example, — men's na- 
tural fears will be a sufficient guard against it. I shall on- 
ly observe, that what was philosophy in this extraordinary 
man, would be frenzy in one who dotli not resemble him 
as Avell in the cheerfulness of his temper as in the sanctity 
of his life and manners.'* 

More was charitable to the poor, he despised riches, and 
though he had opportunities, he had no inclination, to lay- 
up for himself treasures on earth. On his disinterested- 
ness Mr. Roper in this manner expresseth himself. ' Thus 
did it, by his doings throughout the whole course of his life, 
appear, that all his travail and pains, without respect of 
earthly commodities either to himself or any of his, were 
only upon the service of God, the prince and the realm 
wholly bestowed and employed. Whom I heard in his lat- 
ter time to say, that he never asked of the king for himself 
the value of a penny.' 

Of his integrity when chancellor we can have no strong- 
er proof, that that Henry had nothing to allege against 
him; and we can hardlv entertain a doubt that the kino- 
would have embraced such an opportunity with alacrity in 

* Spectator, N°. 349. 


iJi32 ME^fOlRS OF 

.^lore's adversity, had the knight aftoided him one. Mi. 
JRopcr rchites an instance or two of attempts to criminate 
him in this particuhir, all of which, we sluill find, Scl'vctl 
only to fix more strongly the character of his integrity. 

He had made a decree against Parnell at the suit of 
Vaughan, and was accused of having received a gilt cup, 
as a bribe, of Vauohan's wife. Beino; summoned before 
the council, More gravely confessed, forasmuch as that cup 
was, long after the aforesaid decree, brought him for a new~ 
year's gift, he, upon the importunate pressing upon him there- 
of, of courtesy refused not to take it. Here Lord Wiltshire, 
i\nn Boleyn's father, exclaimed in triumph, Lo, did t not 
teU ye my lords that ye should find this matter true f More 
desired their lordships, as they had heard him courteously 
tell one part of his tale, they nould vouchsafe, of their ho- 
nours indifferently to hear the other. He then declared, that 
although he had indeed with much difficulty received the 
cup, yet imnicdiatcly thereupon he caused his butler to 
fill it with wine and he drank to the lady. When she had 
pledged him, he gave her the cup again, that she migl)t 
gi\e it to her husband as a new-year's gift from him ; and, 
at his urgent request, though much against her will, she 
at last received it. Vaughan's wife, and other witnesses 
present, confirmed his statement. 

l\!rs. Croker, a widow, for whom with much difficulty 
he made a decree in chancery against Lord Arundel, 
brought him for a new-year's gift a pair of gloves coutain^v 

SIR T. MORE. §53 

tng forty pounds in angels. Mistress, said More, since it 
zvere against good manyiers to forsake a gentlewoman's nezi)- 
year's gift', I oni content to take your gloves ; but as for your 
money, I utterly refuse it. 

A Mr. Gi'esham also, having a cause depending in 
chancer}^ sent More a gilt cup, the fashion of which the 
linight greatly admired. He therefore ordered one of his 
own cups, Avhich was inferior in beauty, yet superior in 
value, to be brought to him, and desired the messenger to 
present it to his master ; on which condition alone he would 
receive the other. 

Of More's confidence in his integrity, and his contempt' 
of slander in his prosperity, Mr. Roper relates this instance. 
* The water bailif of London (sometime his servant) hear- 
ing, where he had been at dinner, certain merchants liberal-- 
ly to rail against his old master, waxed so discontented, 
therewith, that he hastily came to him and told him what 
he had heard. And zcerc I, sir, quoth he, in such favour 
and authority uith my prince as you are, suc?i men surely 
should not be suffered so villainously and falsely to misreport 
and slander me. Wherefore I would zvish you io call them, 
before you, and to their shatnefor their letvd malice to punish, 

More replied, with a smile, rt/??/, Mr. Watcrbailif xvould 
you have me punish them by whom I receive more benefit than . 
by you all who be my jricnds? Let them in God's name speak- 


as lewdly as they list of mCy and shoot never so many o/rozk^^, 
at me ; as long as they do not hit me, zc;hat am I the worse ? 
But if they should once hit me, then would it indeed a little 
trouble me. Howbeit I trust, by God's help, there shall none 
of them once be able to touch me, — I have more cause, I as- 
sure you Mr. Waterbailif, to pity them, than to be angry with 

More appears in fact, either by nature or religion, to 
have attained to so correct a conduct, that neither the hope 
pf profit or popularity, nor the fear of loss or of evil tongues, 
could allure or deter him in his duty. In all his fortunes, 
good and bad, he seems still to have enjoyed one and the 
same equabilitj'. In his mind, no minister who was inno- 
cent of a charge alleged against him, would treat his ac- 
cusers with insolence or persecute them Avith power. In- 
stead of exercising his authority, when he had it, in crush- 
ing or even silencing those who opposed or slandered hini, 
he thought, that when their arrows did not hit him he re- 
ceived more benefit from them than from the caresses of 
his friends. 

And here let us pay the tribute of respect so justly due 
to More's early and disinterested pubhc virtue as a patriot 
minister. In him we have an instance of a man of the first 
abilities in the kingdom, who, without patrimony or any 
other subsistence than that derived from his profession, had 
the courage and integrity to oppose the measures of the 
king and his ministers, when he deemed those measures 


prejudicial to his country. And this in a reign, in which 
such opposition, so far from being customary or conducive 
to advancement, Avas seldom seen, and almost as seldom 
went unpunished. 

His motive loo, -was solely to prevent oppression and in- 
justice ; and no bribe or advancement could bring him to 
change his conduct, as is too often done,, and promote the 
measures which he had before condemned. When places 
■were conferred upon him without his solicitation, he stiU 
retained his integrity to his country, though his prince was 
one of the most impatient of contradiction that ever filled 
our throne. The idea, as well as name, of patriot, sunk 
uot in him so soon as he had attained to affluence ; nor did 
he crowd the posts of public service with his relatives. 
Neither wavering between the measures of the king and 
people, nor, under colour of serving his country, intending 
only to acquire power and promote private interest, pa- 
triotism shone in him with a real lustre, not, as it too com- 
monly doth, with a temporary and uncertain blaze. 

Queen Catharine used to say, that Henry had only one 
sound counsellor in his kingdom, and that was More ; the 
rest either spoke as the king would have them, or were in- 
ferior to More in. judgment; and as for Wolsey, who was 
then the first subject in the realm, to answer his own ends 
he cared not what counsel he gave the king.* 

f More, 


The dignity which More had borne with so mucli temper, 
he resigned with unfeigned jo}'. Although he might not 
have objected to have seen the pope's illegal Jtnisdiclion in 
England cut off, and therefore might go cheerfully along 
with the suit of Praemunire, yet when he perceived how 
far the king's designs went, and that a total rupture was 
likely to follow, he retired from office with a greatness of 
mind hardly inferior to what the ancient philosophers have 
pretended on similar occasions. The cause too of the king's 
divorce he might think just, and therefore favour it while 
it was agitated at Rome ; but when he saw a breach with 
that court likely to follow, he at once relinquished his lofty 
station. His retirement to private life might have been 
deemed a fall great enough ; and t\^e extent to which Henry 
cairied his resentment on this occasion, is certainly one of 
the foulest leproaclies of liis reign.* 

But More's sentiments were those of a mind sublimed 
above all i'cehngs of sense. Liberty, riches, nay, even life, 
were dross in his esteem, compared with peace of con- 
science and eternal salvation. Christian and philosopher, 
he viewed the ol>jects of sense with supreme indifference, 
and having set his affections most stedfastlj' on the things 
above, he ardently desired his translation to them. His 
great example affords us a very superior lesson of fortitude 
vmder suffering for conscience sake, of contempt of a life 
of flesh in itself short and transitory, and of resignation to 

« See Burnet. 

SIR T. MORE. 257 

the will of heaven under the most trying afflictions of hu- 

Mr. Roper informs us that in the sixteen years cluriuf^ 
which he was an inhabitant of his father-in-law's house, lie 
(lid not once see More in a fume. Margaret Gigs, who 
was brought-up with More's children, said that she some- 
times committed a fault for the purpose of hearing Sir Tho- 
mas chide her, he did it in so grave, and at the same time 
in so moderate, so loving, and so compassionate a manner. 
Erasmus likewise informs us of his intimate friend, comi- 
tate toiam familimn moderatur, in qua nulla tragcedia, nulla 
rixa. And though More was obliged to maintain many 
servants, he is said never to have suffered any of them to 
be idle. He ever invented and assigned some avocation or 
other to each of them when they were not attendant upon 
him, that they might avoid sloth, gaming, and those pro- 
tlio;ate habits in general of which idleness is the source.* 

Should any incline to infer that More at any period of 
his life became austere and splenetic, given wholly to de- 
votion and philosophy, and without amusement or a taste 
for pleasure, they will greatly misconceive his character. 
His pleasures, it is true, were innocent and rational, be- 
coming a christian and a philosopher ; yet he had a heart 
for friendship and conviviality, and for every social feeling 
of our nature. ' Some,' Erasmus writes in one of his let- 
ters to More, ' take great care not to be cheated by coun- 

* More, 

Vol. I. LI 

258 :mi:-moii{s of 

teifeit jewels ; but you, despising such trifles, account your- 
self rich inclecd if you can find u true friend. No man 
taketh so uuich delight in cards, dice, diess, hunting, or 
music, as you do in conversing with a well-infornied and 
pleasant companion.' * 

From IMorc's great-grandson we learn, that he seldom 
feasted the great, but his poor neighbours often ; nlioin he 
would visit in their houses and bcstoio upon t/uiii his large li- 
beraliti/, not groats, but erouns of gold ; and zv/ien he zcas a 
private lazcyer, he zcould take no fees of poor folks, zcidows, 
nor pupils. The ignorant and the proud, even in the high- 
est stations, were those to whom he was observed to shew 
the least respect. On the other hand, he was a friend and 
patron to every man of letters, and he maintained episto- 
lary correspondence with most of the leained in Christen- 
dom of his day. 

His chief foible is said to have been an affectation of sin- 
gularity ; and he is even accused of having worn his gown 
awry, that one shoulder might appear higher than the other. 
Cranmer also intimateth, that More was so desirous of 
esteem, that having once spoken his mind, he would never 
deviate therefrom, for fear of injuring the credit of his 
judgment. But these alleged weaknesses sound too nmch 
like the invidious censures which ever attend u})on distinc- 
tion ; and if they be with truth attributable to More, they 
must after all be pronounced to be of too trivial a nature 

* Farrag. £pi$t. p. 536. 

SIR T. IMOUr. 259 

for our serious atiimaclvcrsioii, when opposed to the nobler 
features of his sterUng character. 

To what study soever Sir Thomas applied himself, saith his 
great-grandson, he grew in short time most famous therein. 
He then coniplimenteth the knight's talent for poetry even 
in his youth, his skill in rhetoric, the purity of his Latin 
style, and his patience for such a wit in stud3'ing the law. 
Yet the same characteristic which distinguished ]\lore in 
other respects, and which induced him to appear to the 
world like his neighbours whatever his private habits and 
opinions might be, marked his talents also. Arrogance or 
overbearance were strangers to him ; and he ever seemed 
more desirous of concealing, than of ostentatiously display- 
ing, his talents. His own opinion of his writings was humble 
in the extreme. Praise, vain glory, lucre, or worldly advance- 
ment had certainly no influence on his pen, whatever Tindal 
and others asserted. So that envenomed hooks might be once 
suppressed and abolished, he wished his own on a light and 
fair Jire. Of his Utopia he wrote, that he judged it no 
better worth, than to remain hidden in his own island, or 
to be consecrated to Vulcan ; and of his epigrams, you well 
know, dear Erasmus, they never pleased me, and if others 
had not liked them better than I do, they should never have 
been published. 

Powerful as he was in arguing upon any subject, it is re- 
lated of him, that when he found a young opponent who 
was unable to maintain his ground against him, rather than 

LI 2 


to discourage rising merit, he would with ingenuity divert 
the conversation into a difl'ercnt channel. Vet was this man 
freciucntly appointed by the king, on account of his ready 
talents, to make answer to the compliments paid to his 
majesty when he visited his universities ; and whenever 
More visited a university in his own country or abroad, he 
not only attended their public disputations, but entered in- 
to them himself. When Henry went over to meet the French 
king, and when Charles V. landed in England, More was 
appointed to make the gratulatory addresses.* 

His celebrated political romance, Utopia, he wrote in 
Latin about the year 1516. It speedily gained him great 
applause over Europe, was translated into French, Italian, 
Dutch, and English, and hath now stood the test of nearly 
three centuries as a masterpiece of wit and fancy. It hath, 
however, ex])erienced somewhat of a severe fate, in being 
better known and more admired abroad, than by the au- 
thor's own countrymen ; a circumstance which may in some 
measure sanction its re-appearance in an English dress of 
the day, though its merit is greater than to allow of its de- 
living any advantage by translation. 

It can hardly be questioned, that under this ingenious 
fiction of a commonwealth, all his own notions of govern- 
ment were promulgated by More. He creates a kingdom 
in a new world, and obliquely ccnsureth the detects which 
he had observed in the old one. More probably wrote this 

* Roper and More. 

SIR T. MORE. 261 

piece before he had heard of Luther ; and the Wicklevites 
and Lollards were the only heretics then known in our 
country. He gave his mind full scope in" it, and consider- 
ed mankind and religion with the freedom of a true j)hilo- 
sophcr. It i-> easy to collect from it, what his thoughts 
then were of religion, the constitutions of the church, and 
of the clergy at that time. Had he died then, he would 
probably have been numbered with those, who though they 
lived in the communion of the church of Rome, yet saw 
her errors and corruptions, and only wanted fit opportuni- 
ties of declaring themselves more openly for a reformation. 
Upon farther knowledge, and more experience of men and 
things, he appears to have materially changed many of his 
sentiments ; and it is now not very easy, as we have already 
remarked, to account how so great an alteration was etfect- 
ed in him.* 

More appears, by this piece, to have been an enemy to 
the severity of our laws, and to have thought in this par- 
ticular in the same charitable and reasonable way with his 
mild and gentle friend Erasmus,-j' and with many others 
even of our own da}^ 

The History of King Richard III was written about 
the year 1513, More being then one of the under sheriff's 
of London. He wrote it in Latin as well as in Enahsh, 
but it was never finished by liim. In the volume of his 
English works it is printed from a copy said to have been 
• See Burnet. f Tom. v. c. 167. 

962 Mi:.>rOIR.S OF 

in liis own liaiulwriting ; and iVoni tluit vohune it is re- 
printed in the incseut work, as a record of our history 
which is httlc known, aiul which is certainly vahiablc if on- 
ly on account of the writer. 

More's great-grandson observes of this history, ii is so 
well penned, that if oi/r chronicles of Ensiland uerc half so 
xvell set-out, fhci/ noitld entice all Englishmen to read them 
over often, adding somewhat extravagantly, that iio one 
over adventured to finish the work, for the same reason that 
the Venus of Apelles remained unfinished. 

Above a century after More's death, George Buck took- 
up the cudgels tor Richard, which of course made him 
More's opponent in this work ; and above a century later, 
came a noble speculator in our histor}-, who seconded this 
advocate for a monster, and proved himself at least Buck's 
cfjual in the love of paradox. The tbrmer's censure of 
More's learning, and his other remarks, smell so strongly 
of party, and he hath found so little credit as a writer, that 
he cannot now be deemed worth}-^ of a serious repl}'. The 
latter opponent, after allowing More's composition to be a 
beautiful one, and the writer of it to be one of the honest- 
est statesmen and brightest names in our annals, supposes 
he wrote the tract, as he did his Utopia, to amuse his lei- 
sure and exercise his fancy. He took-up a paltry canvas 
and embroidered it with a jiowing design, as his imagination 
suggested the colours ; and in the end, the honest statesman 
is found gmlty, not only of invention and romance, but of 

SIR T. MORE. 203 

palpable, material, nay, wilful falsehood. At one moment, 
the great knight speaks truth ; in the next, he propagates 
the most abominable lies. All writers, of whatever credit, 
are respected or condemned, as tkey confirm or oppose the. 
doubter's hypothesis ; and throughout the piece, the same 
author from whom he produces exhibits to prove one asser- 
tion, he challenges as foresworn to make M'ay for another. 

Yet these conceits, however ingenious, have had little 
or no effect in shaking the authority of More. The most 
popular historian of our dixy pays him every respect ; our 
judgments have not been convinced by flippancies ; and 
Richard still remains the monster he was. 

By a passage in this tract, it appears that More once 
thought also of Avriting the history of Henry VII and of 
Perkin Warbeck ; but it is probable that he either never 
found leisure for accomplishing such a design, or felt that 
the freedom of his pen might be in some measure fettered, 
by the favour which he experienced from Henry \'11I. 

Sir Thomas, although not to be numbered with Sanaz- 
zaro, Fracastoro, Vida, and othere of his time, is allowed 
to have been no indifferent poet ; and a more assiduous ap- 
plication to the muses would probably have made lum a 
superior one. His epigrams are highly commended by 
Rhenanus, as will be seen by the epistle prefixed to them ; 
and many authors beside Rhenanus have borne testimony 
to their merit. Our own coiTcct and classical Jortin pro- 


nouncos the porni on ;i lady ol" whom Move liad been deejv 
ly enaiiiourccl in his youth, to be the most pathetic and 
elegant in the collection; the reason is obvious, his hand 
was secretary to his heart. The short lines to Candidus, on 
the choice ol" a wile, have also been greatly admired. For 
the following translations of these poems, which cannot but 
be acceptable to the reader, 1 am indebted to the same 
distinguished hand which favoured me with the additional 
translation of More's epitaph ; and I have added a version 
or two of the knight's epigrammatic stile for the amuse- 
ment of the merely English reader. 

To Candidus. 

EiNOUGu by vagrant love. 

Dear j otitli you've been misled : 
O ! rise (licac joys above, 

And quit the lawless bed. 

Some consort in your arms, 

Heart link'd to lieart, embrace ; 
Wbo with transmitted charms 

Your lengthening line may grace. 

So did for yoayour sire : 

The ilebt, with interest due, 
Postcrily require, 

My Candidus, from you. 

Nor be it chief your aim, 

p'ortune or tace to seek ! 
Slight love attenils the dune, 

Sought lor her yursc or cheek. 

SIR T. MORE. 265 

No purer love can bear 

Tlic flame, which fortune fires ; 
It vanishes in air, 

And ere it lives, expires. 

Nay, fortune's courted charms 
Fade in the miser's grasp. 

When doom'd within his arms 
An unloved spouse to clasp. 

And beauty's vaunted power 
By fever's tooth decays ; 

Or time-struck, like a flower 
Beneath the solar blaze. 

Then vows are urged in vain 
With beauty's passing hue, 

Bound singly by that chain, 
Affection passes too. 

But genuine is the love 

Which reason, virtue rears — — 
All fever's force above, 

Above the assault of years. 

First scrutinize her birth ; 

Be sure her mother's mild : 
Oft with her milk her worth 

The mother gives her child. 

Next in herself be seen 

Good temper's gentlest tone : 

Still placid be her mien. 
Unruffled by a frown ; 

Vol. I. Mm 


And still, ber check's best charm, 
Be hcr's sweet modesty ■— — 

No lover-clasping arm, 

No love-provoking eye. 

Far from her lips' soft door 
Be noise, be silence stern ; 

And ber's be learning's store, 
Or her's the power to learn. 

With books she'll time Ijeguile, 
And make true bliss her own ; 

Unbuoycd by fortune's smile, 
Unbroken by her frown. 

So still, thy heart's delight 
And partner of thy way, 

She'll guide thy children right. 
Where myriads go astray. 

So, left all meaner things, 

Thou'lt on her breast recline ; 

While to her lyre she sings 

Strains, Philomel, like thine: 

While still thy raptured gaze 
Is on her accents hung, 

As words of honied graaj 

Steal from her honied tonguo- 

Words they, of power to soothe 
All idle joy or woe 

With learning's varied truth, 
With eloquence's flow. 


Such Orpheus' wife, whose fate 
With tears old fables tell ; 
Or never would her mate 
Have fetched her back from hell. 

Such Naso's daughter, she 

Whose muse with Naso's vied ; 
And such might Tullia be, 

Her learned father's pride. 

The Gracchi's mother such. 

Who train 'd the sons she bore ; 

Famed as their mother raucli, 
And as their tut'ress more. 

• But what to distant days 

My lingering glance confines 

One girl, of equal grace, 

E'en in this rude age shines : 

Single, worth all, she stands 

By fame through Britain flown, 

Hail'd — gaze of other lands, 
Cassandra of her own. 

Say, would a maid so rare 

Within thy arms repose ; 

Were she, nor rich, nor fair, 

Could'st thou decline her tows i 

Enough of beauty her's. 

With whom a husband's blest : 
Enough of wealth she shares, 

To whom enough's a feast. 


968 .MKMOIRS 0^ 

So lov'd, were she (I swear) 
Than soot of darker die ; 

I'd think her far, more fair, 
Than e'er met mortal eye : 

So lov'il, were she (I swear) 
Than poverty more [xmc ; 

I'd think lier richer far, 

Than kinsrs with all their store.* 

2o Eliza, whom he loved in youth. 

Thou livest, Eliza, to these eyes restored, 

more tlian lite in life's gay bloom adored ! 
Many a long year, since first we met, has roU'd : 

1 then was boyibli, and 1 now am old. 
Scarce had 1 bid my sixteenth summer hail, 
And two in thine were wanting to the taJe ; 
When thy soft mien — ah mien for ever fled ! — 
On my tranc'd heart its guiltless influence shed. 
When on my mind thy mucli-Ioved image steals. 
And thy swett long-lost former self reveals ; 
Time's envious gripe appears but half unkind : 
Torn from thyself, to me thou'rt left behind. 

The grace, that held my doting glance, thougli flown, 
Has flown thy cheek — to make my breast its throne : 
And as by gentle blasts the flame is fed, 
And 'mid cold ashes rears its languid head ; 
So thou, though changed (ah ! changed indeed) to vie 
Kindlest the love, that once was thine, anew. 
Now on my memory breaks that happy day. 
When first I saw thee with thy mates at play : 

• See vol ii, p. 308. 

SIR T. .AIORE. 269 

On thy white neck the flaxen ringlet lies, 

With snow thy cheek, thy lip with roses vies. 

Thine eyes, twin stars, with arrowy radiance shine, 

And pierce and sink into my heart through mine. 

Struck as with heaven's own bolt, I stand, I gaze ; 

I hang upon thy look in tix'd amaze : 

And as I writhe beneath the new-felt spear, 

My artless pangs our young companions jeer. 

So charm'd me thy fair form ; or woman grown, 

Or from it's ripen'd grace as woman known. 

AVhether the glow, that thrills our early frame, 

Lit in my breast the undecaying flame ; 

Or some kind planet at our natal hour, 

Deign'd on our hearts it's common beam to pour : 

For one, who knew with what chaste warmth you burn'd, 

Had blabb'd the secret of my love return'd. 

Then the duenna and the guarded door 

Baffled the stars, and bade us meet no more. 

Sever'd, ourdiiferent fates we thence pursued, 

Till this late day my raptures has renewed : 

This day, whose rare felicity I prize. 

Has given thee safe to my delighted eyes. 

Crimeless, my Iieart you stole in life's soft prime ; 

And stQl possess that heart without a crime. 

Pure was the love, w hich in my youth prevail'd ; 

And age would keep it pure, if lionour fail'd. 

O may the gods, who, five long lustres past, 

Have brought us to each other well at last, 

Grant that — when number'd five long lustres more 

Healtliful 1 still may hail thee, heahhful as before ! * 

* See ToL »i, p. 350. 



A squall arose ; the vessel's toss'd ; 
The sailors fear their lives arc lost. 
Our sins, our sins, dismayed they cry, 
Have wrought this fatal destiny. 

A monk it chanc'd was of the crew 
And round him, fo confess, they drew. 
Yet still the rcsllcss ship is fossM 
And still they fear their lives are lost. 

One sailor, keener than the rest, 
Cries, with our sins she's still oppressM ; 
Heave out that monk, who bears them all. 
And then full well she'll ride the squall. 

So said so done ; with one accord 
They throw the caitilF overboard- 
And now the bark before the gale 
Scuds with light liuU and easy sail. 

Learn hence the weight of sin to know, 
With which a ship could hardly go.* 

While Brag was out, his wife, so frail, 

To Hodge, (he rustic yields. 
Retum'd the cuckold hears the tale, 

And storms into the iields. 

Poor Hodge he finds, and draws his sword 

A stone Hodge singles out 

Wretch, with ray dearest wife you've wbot'd 

I have, replies the lout. 

• See vol. ii, p, 321. 

SIR T. M01{E» 271 

You own it do you then, Brag cries, 
'Tis well you speak the truth ; 

By Jove, if you had told rae lies, 
I'd hewn you limb from tooth !* 

When the sun shines, but ope those rows 
Of teeth, with all your power. 

And then with that enormous nose 
You'll gnomon-out the hour.+ 

In the Leyden edition of the works of Erasmus, in the 
appendix to Dr. Joitin's Life of Erasmus, and in the edi- 
tions of More's Latin works, are to be found several of the 
knight's Latin letters. It hath been justly remarked of 
them, that though they be valuable on several accounts, 
they have one small blemish, — they are more in the style 
of orations than of epistles, and the peiiods are too long^ 
and too embarrassed. 

Of all More's writings, the controversial are indisputably 
the most reprehensible. But in those days, as we have al- 
ready had occasion to remark, the object was, not only to 
endeavour to refute the arguments of the adversary, but 
likewise to equal him in abuse. If ever More appeareth 
to disadvantage, it is upon these occasions. The fact is, 
when religion was the subject in agitation, he was no long- 
er himself. His bigotry overcame every j)rinciple of good 
sense, of decorum, of humanity. Like his adversary Luther, 
* See vQj.ii, p. 314. f Ibid. p. 339. 


his zeal and impetuosity were too hard-mouthed horses, 
M'hich ran away with the chariot and the charioteer, 

Fruslra rclinacula tendons 

Fertur equis auriga, neque audit currus habenas. 

Thus it is remarked by bishop Atterbury, that, in his an- 
swer to Luther, ISIorc forgot liimselt' so far, as to throw out 
the greatest heap of nasty language which ever was put to- 
gether ; that the book throughout is nothing l)ut downright 
ribald r}', without a grain of reason to support it, and gave 
the author no other reputation, than that of having the 
best knack of any man in Europe at calling bad names in 
good Latin. More's English tracts against Tindai, Barns, 
^c. deserve a similar censure, though he certainly wrote with 
as much wit and eloquence as any writer of that age. lu 
Lis Apology, printed in his English works, More endea- 
Youreth to extenuate this conduct, by the bluntness of his 
nature, and the example given him by his adversaries ; but, 
one of his understanding doth not stand vindicated by such 

Burnet sailh of More that he was no divine at all, nor 
conversant with the critical learning upon the scriptures ; 
that his peculiar excellence in writing was, a natural, easy 
expression, and he presented all the opinions of popery 
Avith their fair side to the reader, disguising or concealing 
the darker side with great art. He was also no less dexter- 
ous in exposing all the ill consequences Avhich Avould follow 

SIR T. MORE. f78 

on the doctrine of the reformers, and had pleasant tales 
ready on all occasions, which he applied wittily to his pur- 
pose. He wrote ratiier for the rabble than for the learned , 
adds the bishop. 

More's English works were published at London in a 
thick folio volume in the year 1557, by order of queen 
Mary ; in whose reign it was given-out as an extraordinary 
circumstance, that king Edward died and she succeeded to 
the crown on the anniversary of the knight's suffering on 
the scaffold. More's nephew, William Rastell, then Ser- 
jeant at law and afterward a judge, was patronised by her 
majesty as editor of the work ; and had he written a Life 
of the knight (as hath been supposed), it would surely have 
been prefixed to the volume. As this book is now become 
very scarce it may not be improper to recapitulate the con- 
tents of it in this place. 

Four short tbings written in his youth for his pastime. 

The life of John Picus earl of Mirandula, translated out of Latin. 

The history of king Richard III, unfinished. 

A treatise (unfinished) upon these words of holy Scripture, memorare no-dsm 
sima, et in eternum non peccabis. 

A dialogue concerning heresies and laatters of religion. 

The supplication of souls. 

The confutation of Tindal. 

Vol. L N n 

i»74 AinMoms or 

A Icfter impu!!;nin£; tlic erroneous writing of John Frith against the blessed 
srjcramcnt ol tlie iiltar. 

The apolo^'y of .Sir Thomas More, kniijht, made by him Anno 1533, after 
That he had given over tlie office of lord chancellor of EiyUnd. 

The Dcbellacion of Salem and Bizancc. 

A treatise upon the blessed sacrament of the altar. 

A dialogue of comfort against tribulalion. 

A treatise to receive the blessed body of our Lord sacranicntally and virlual- 
]y both. 

A treatise upon the passion of Christ, unfinished. 

An exposition of a part of the passion of our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Certain devout and virtuous instructions, meditations, and prayers, made 
and collected while he was prisoner in the Tower. 

Letters, his epitaph, &c. 

Of More's Latin works, three editions have passed the 
press. The first was printed at Basle in 8'", in 1563; the 
second at Louvain in foho in 1566 ; the last and best was 
published by C. Gensch in folio at Frankfort on the INIaine 
and Leipsic in 1689. So few copies of the last edition are 
to be found in this country, that a recapitulation of its con- 
tents may be acceptable to the reader also. 

Vita et obitns T. Mori e Thomae Stapletoni Tribus Thomis.. 
Doctorum virorum varia epigrammata in laudem et mortem T. Mori. 
Historia Richardi Anglia; ejus noniinis IlL 


T. Mori responsio ad convitia M. Lutlieri conpesta in Henricum regem 
Auglix ejus uumiiiiii V'lli, sub Gulieliui Itossci numinc edua. 

T. Mori ex posit io passionis Cliristi. 

Quod pro fide mors fugienda iioii sit. 

Pncalio tx Psalmis. 

T. Mori Utopia. 

T. IMori Poemata, quibus praemissa sunt quaedam ipsius et Guiielmi Lilii 
progj mnaimata. 

T. Mori dialogi Lucianei e Grsecis in Latinum sermonem conversi, adjecta 
declaniatione qu;i Luciain TyrauniciiiaB rci'pondetur. 

T. Mori et Erasmi episiote. 

Of More's personal pecularities we are told, that though 
his table was ever well supplied, he eal only of one dhh 
himself, which was coninKjnlj salted meat. He used coarse 
brown bread, and was toud of milk, cheese, eggs, and 
fruit. \\ hatever disli he hrst tasted sc rved liim for his meal. 
In his youth he is said to have abstained wholly from wine ; 
but he w(juld taste it in his later years when diluted with 
water, or when he pledged his friends. To recreate the 
mind at the same time with the body, or perhaps to allow 
more leisure and digestion to his meals, he employed a 
person to read aloud while he sat at table, and he made 
occasional remarks on the subjects which occurred.* 

His dress never occupied his thought. M hen his secre- 

• More. 

Nn 2 


tary, Harris, once tokl him that his shoes were torn, Moie 
desired him to tell his servant, who bouglit and ordered all 
his apparel at his own discretion, and whom he called his 
tutor, to buy him nexc ones. In matters of the utmost im- 
portance we arc told he would consult his trusty Harris, 
and that More olten submitted to iiis opinion, though his 
own judgment might have led him to vary from it.* 

More's great-grandson adds, that though low in statuic, 
the knight's person was well-proportioned, — his complexion 
tending to phlegmatic, his colour xchite and pale, his hair 
neither black nor yellow but between both -j- ; Ids eyes grey, 
his countenance amiable and cheerful, his voice neither big 
nor shrill, but speaking plainly and distinctly, — it was not 
very tuneable, though he delighted much in 7nusic ; his body 
reasonably healthful, only that toward his latter end, by us- 
ing much writing, he complained mucli of the ache of his 

Holbein painted several family pieces for Sir Thomas, 
most of which appear to have been presented to the knight's 
friends abroad. One of the best of them is, however, at 
present in this country, an heirloom in the family of Sir 
Rowland Winn, which is allied to the Ropers. It is pro- 
bably still preserved at the family residence, Nostal, in 

More's family, as we have seen, consisted of three daugh- 

* More. t Probably chesnut. 

SIR T. MORE. 277 

ters and a son ; with whom he brought-up Margaret Gigs, 
afterward married to Dr. Clement.* 

Margaret, his eldest daughter, married William Roper, 
Esq. of Well-hall, Eltham, Kent, and had issue, Thomas, 
manied to Lucy, daughter of Sir Anthony Brown, master 
of the horse, and privy-counsellor to Henry Vlll ; Anthony, 
of whom we have no farther informatitjn ; Khzabeth, mar- 
ried to Stevenson, Esq. and afterward to Sir Ed- 
ward Bray, Knight; Margaret, married to William Dawtry, 
Esq. ; and Mary, married to Stephen Clarke, Esq. and af- 
terward to James Basset, Esq.-f- 

Elizabeth, the second daughter, married John, son and 
heir of Sir John Dancy, and had issue John, I'homas, Bar- 
tholomew, William, German, Alice, and Elizabeth.^ 

Cecilia, the third daughter, married Giles Heron, Esq. 
of Shacklewell, Middlesex, and had issue John, Thomas, 
and Ann.§ 

John, the only son, married Ann, daughter and heiress 
of Edward Cresacre, Esq. of Baronborough, Yorkshire, and 
had issue Thomas, Austin, Edward, Bartholomew, another 
Thomas, and Ann. || 

It is said that the first wife of Sir Thomas, having had 
three daughters, prayed most earnestly for a son. This son 

* More. f Ropet by Lewis, J More. j Ibid. || Ibid. . 


proved one of the heroiim jUii who are seldom equal to their 
fathers, and tlie kniglit wunkl say, she iiad prayed so loiig 
for a boy, tiiat she produced one at last who would be a 
boy as lung as he live. I. lie was certainly less ornamental 
to Flore's family than his sister Margaret ; but he had every 
advanta<ie which a uood education could afVortl him, and 

or? ' 

Lis natural parts appear to have been considerably advan- 
ced. Among the letters of Erasmus, is one addressed to 
him, in which the good scholar stileth him, a youth of 
great hope. 'J'he works of Aristotle also, printed in Creek 
by Forben's heirs in 1J31, are dedicated to him by Eras- 
mus; and those ot Plato, and other works, by Grynaeus. 

Erasmus, ^^ho had frequently been an eye witness, stil- 
eth More's house, a little habitation of the muses and an- 
othei academy ot 1 lato. lie injures it, however, he adds, 
h) ti.e comparison ; lor in Plato's academy they disputed 
ot numbers and geometry, and only occasionally of moral 
virtues ; but this house was appropriately a school of chris- 
tian duty. Neither man nor woman was unemployed in 
it, in hberal occupation or useful study ; though religion 
■was the chief objeit. Discord was a stranger; not a peevish 
-word was heard, no one was seen idle. Each had his oc- 
ciq^ation, all were cheerful, sober mirth prevailed; and the 
master of the house maintained this excellent economy, 
not by severity and chiding, but by gentleness and kind- 
ness.* V\ hen the same gcat scholar, in his colloquy yii- 

♦ Farrag. Epist. lib. 27. 

SIR T. MORE. 279 

baiis et Eruclitce nameth tlie Morica among certain learned 
ladies, he evidently alludes to More's daughters. 

The knight's favourite, ^Margaret, appears to have en- 
joyed every advantage of an undeistanding strong by na- 
ture and cultivated with peculiar attention. Costerius, in 
his notes on Vincentius Lirinensis,* gives us an emenda- 
tion by her of a passage in Cyprian, which is not unworthy 
of the ablest critic. Slie also wrote two declamations in 
English, which she and her father translated into Latin, 
both with so much eloquence, that it was ditficult to pro- 
nounce which of them deserved the preference. She wrote 
a treatise of the Four Last Tilings, which Moi'e declared 
to be better than one which he had written himself. Eris- 
mus complimenteth her in a letter, for her learning, still 
more than for her virtue or mannei's ; and when cardinal 
Pole read one of her letters, he could not believe that it 
was written by a woman.-j- 

One of the effusions of her affection, addressed to her 
father in prison, is here extracted from More's English 

Mrs. Roper to Sir Thomas More. 

Mine own good Father ! 

It is to me no little comfort, since I cannot talk w/th 
you by such means as I would, at the leastvvay to delio-,.'; 

• P. 47. - t More. 

290 RIEMOms OF 

myself, in this bitter time ot" your absence by such menns 
as I tnatj ; by as often writing to you as sliall be expe- 
• diiMit, ajid by reading again and again your most fruitful 
and delectable letter, the faitlilul messenger of your very 
virtuous and ghostly mind, riti from all corrupt it)ve of 
worldly things, and lasi knit only in the love of God and 
desire of heaven, as becometh a very true worshipper and 
a laithful servant of God. Who, I doubt not, good fatner, 
boldeth his holy hand over you, and shall (as he hatli) pre- 
serve you both body and stJid, \it sit mens sana in covpwe 
sano ; and namely now, when you have abjected all earth- 
ly consolations, and resigned yourself willingly, gladly, and 
luily, tor his love, to his lioly protection. 

Father, what think you hath been our comfort since your 
departing from usf Surely the experience we have had of 
your life past, and godly conversation, and wholesome coun- 
sel, and virtuous example, and a suret}', not only of the 
continuance of that same, but also a great increase, by the 
goodness of our Lord, to the great rest and gladness of 
your lieart, devoid of all earthly dregs and garnished with 
the noble vesture of heavenly virtues, — a pleasant palace 
for the holy spirit of God to rest in. W ho defend you (as 
1 doubt not, good father, but of his goodness he will) from 
all trouble of mind and of body, and give me your most 
loving obedient daughter and handmaid, and all us your 
children and friends, to follow that that we praise in you, 
and to our only comfort remember and commune together 
of you ; that vve may m conclusion meet with you, mine 

SIR T. MORE. 281 

own dear futUcr, in the bliss of henven, to which our most 
merciful Lord hath brought us with liis precious blood ! 

Your owu most loving, obedient dauglitcr and bedeswoman, 


who desireth above all worldly things to be in Jolm a 
Wood's stead, to do you some service. But we live in hope 
that we shall shortly receive you again, — I pray God hearti- 
ly we may, if it be his holy will. 

Mrs. Roper appears to have been no less attentive to the 
education of her children, than her parents had been to 
the cultivation of her own mind. The celebrated Roger 
Ascham informs us, that she was very desirous of having 
him for their instructor ; but he could not be prevailed up- 
on at that time to leave the university. Her daughter Mrs. 
Basset, was one of the ladies of queen Mary's privy-cham- 
ber. This lady translated into English a part of her grand- 
father's Exposition of our Saviour's passion ; and she imi- 
tated his style so well, that it was thought to liave been 
translated by the knight himself. 

While we are upon this subject, it may not be uninterest- 
ing to the reader to peruse a translation of one of More's 
letters relative to the education of his children, as preserved 
by Stapleton. 

Vol. L o 


Sir Thomas More to Goncllus. 

' T have received, my dear Gonellus, your letters, as 
usual, liiU of elegance and affection. Your love of my 
children I see by 3^our letters, your diligence I gather from 
their own ; for each of their letters pleased me. But espe- 
cially was I delighted, that Elizabeth behaved herself with 
a decenc}' of demeanour in my absence which iew children 
observe in the presence of their parents. Give her to un- 
derstand that that circumstance delighted me more, than 
could all the learning in the world. Tor 1 prefer the learn- 
ing which is united Avith virtue, to all the treasures of kings; 
and if we separate from it propriety of conduct, what else 
doth the fame of letters bring us, than a kind of infamy 
in notoriety ? This applieth peculiarly to the female sex. 
Their proficiency in literature being something new, and a 
certain reproach to the sluggishness of men, most men will 
be ready to attack them, and to expend their natural ma- 
lice upon their learning. Nay, they will call their own ig- 
norance a virtue, when compared Avith the faults of these 
learned. But, on the other hand, if a woman (which I 
wish may be the case with all my girls, and in which I have 
the greatest coniidence under your auspices), to great ex- 
cellence of character unite even a moderate portion of learn- 
ing, I deem her possessed of more real good, than if sIkj 
had the wealth of Croesus and the beauty of Helen. 

' And this not for the sake of fame, althougli she pur-- 


sueth worth as doth the shadow the body. But because 
tlie reward of wisdom is more substantial than to be borne 
away on the wings of riclies, or to fade with beauty ; since 
it placeth its dependence on rectitude of conscience, not 
on the tongues of others, which abound in folly and evil. 
For as the avoiding- of infamy is the duty of a good man, 
so the laying himself out for fame, is the part not onlv of 
a proud, but of a ridiculous and contemptible one ; since 
that mind must of necessity be ill at ease, which ever tluc- 
tuateth between joy and sadness from the opinions of others. 
But of the great benefits which learning conferreth on man, 
I reall\f deem none preferable to the instruction vhich let- 
ters afford us, that in the attainment of them we regard 
not the reputation they bring us, but their utility. Which 
precept, although some have abused their learning, like 
other good possessions, by hunting only for vain glory and 
popular fame, yet hath it been delivered by ail the most 
learned, and especially by the philosophers, those modera- 
tors of human life. 

* I have enlarged the more on this subject of vain glorj', 
my Gonellus, because of the expression in your letter, that 
you think the elevated cast of my daughter Margaret's 
mind should not be lowered. I agree with you in this opi- 
nion. But in my mind, and I doubt not in yours also, he 
seems to lower the noble disposition of his njind, who ac- 
custometh himself to admire what is vain and base. And 
he, on the other hand, to elevate it, who esteemeth virtue 
and ti'ue good; who, by contemplating sub'ime objects, look- 

Oo 2 


eth clown as from on liit;l),with disregard, on tliose shadows 
of good, which almost all, in ignorance, greedily catch at, 
for the substance. 

' As this seemed to me the best way, I have not only 
rccjuested you my dear Gonellus, whose strong love to all 
mme would have led you 1 know to have done so ot your 
own accord, not only my wile, to whom her true maternal 
piety is a sufHcient unpulse as 1 have ollen witnessed, but 
I have frequently besought almost ail of my triends also, 
that they niisiht after ^ard admonish my children, that, 
avoiding the precipices of pride, tliey valk m the pleasant 
meads of modesty ; that the sight of riches overcome them 
not ; that they sigh not for the want of that in themselves 
ivhich is erroucoublv admiied b^ others; that tlicy think 
lio better of themselves lor bt ing well dressed, nor worse 
for being otherwise, that they s})oil not the beauty which 
nature gave them by neglect, noi endeavour to mcrease it 
by vile arts; that they esteem \irtue the hrst, letters the 
second good ; and that ot these they esteem those the best, 
which can best teach them piety to God, chaiit} to man, 
modesty and christian humility in their own deportment. 

' Thus shall they receive fnnn the Almighty the reward 
of an innocent lile ; in the certain expectation of which, 
the^ shall not fear death, and feeling true joy in this life, 
be neither pufl"ed-up with the vain praises of men, nor 
broken-down by their malice. 'J'hcse 1 esteem to be the 
true and genuine fruits of learning; Avhich, though they be 

SIR T. MOklT. 283 

not put-forth by all the learned, yet, whoever studicth with 
this view, 1 maintain may produce them in the highest per- 

* It mattereth not to the crop, whether man or Avoman 
sowed it ; and if the name MA>f, whose reason distm- 
guisheth his nature from the brute, api)lieth to either sex, 
I say science, by which that reason is cultivated, and like 
a field beareth good corn under due tillage, equally becom- 
eth either, liut it the soil in woman be bad by nature, and 
more productive in weeds than corn (by which opinion 
many deter that sex from letters), I, on the other hand, 
think the female genius ought on that account to be the 
more dihgently cultivated by letters and good discipline ; 
that the evil of nature ma}', by industry, be corrected. 
Those wise and holy men, the fathers, thought thus. Of 
whom, to omit the rest, Jerom and Augustin not only ex- 
horted ladies of the highest rank and worth to the acqui- 
sition of letters, but, that they might the more easily ac- 
complish it, they diligently expounded to them abstruse 
passages in scripture, and wrote long letters to young maid- 
ens with so much erudition, that old men of our day, and 
professors of divinity, can scarcely read, so far are they 
from understanding them. Which works of holy men, my 
learned Gonellus, you will of your goodness take care that 
my (laughters read. From them they may best know the 
scope their learning ought to embrace, and they Avill teach 
them to esteem the consent of God, and a good con- 
.science, the best fruit of their labours. So, placid mid 

esc RiEMoms of 

tranquil in themselves, they will neither be set-up with tlie 
praise of the tlatterer, nor I'cel any bite iVom the unlearned 

' But T hear you long ago cxchiiniing, that these precepts, 
tliough true, are too hard for the tender age of my child- 
ren ; for who is there, however old or learned, whose mind 
is so strong and well-poised, that he hath not the smallest 
inclination for glory ? But, my friend, the more diiKcult 
1 see it to shake-off this pest of pride, the more endeavour 
do I deem necessary, even from infancy. Nor do 1 think 
there is any other cause why this unavoidable evil sticketh 
so fast in our breasts, than because almost as soon as we 
are born it is sown in our minds by our nurses, next che- 
rished by our masters, and lastly, fed and brought to per- 
fection by our parents. For no one teacheth us any good, 
without the expectation of praise as the reward of merit ; 
whence, being long accustomed to tiie love of praise, it 
cometh to that at last, that while we study to please the 
majority, and therefore the inferiority, wc grow ashamed 
of being good. 

' That this plague may be driven the farther from my 
children, do you my Gonellus, their mother, and all my 
friends, chant, inculcate, na}', bellow in their ears, tliat 
vain glory is abject and disgustful ; and that there is no- 
thing more excellent than the humble modesty recommend- 
ed by Christ. This your prudent kindness will inculcate by 
teacliing them good ratiicr than blaming their faults ; and 

Sm T. MORE, 287 

you will conciliate their love, not hatred, by your admoni- 
tions. And nothing can conduce more to this end, than 
the reading to them the precepts of the fathers. These, 
they knoAv, are not angry with them; and, from their ve- 
nerable sanctity, their authority must have great weight. 

' "Wherefore, if you will read some such things, beside 
their lesson in Sallust, to my Margaret and Ehzabeth (for 
their understandings appear to be riper than those of John 
and Cecilia), you will increase my own as well as their ob- 
ligations to you, which are aheady great. And my child- 
ren, first dear to me by nature, then more endeared \,y 
their letters and virtue, shall become by their superior 
growth in learning and good manners under your auspices, 
superlatively dear indeed to me. 

' Farewell. At Court, Whitsuneve.' 

^Vhen INIore resigned his office of chancellor, he made 
a disposition of his landed property ; reserving to himself 
his estates for the term of his life, and after his death as- 
suring a part to his wife, a part to his son's wife as a jom- 
ture, and a part to Mr. Roper and his wife, with divers re- 
mainders over. Though this was settled long before the 
l^night's attainder, the conveyance was then made void ; 
and the inheritances allotted to his wife and to his son's 
wife were claimed by the crown. But it had so happened, 
that two days after More had settled his deed, he altered 

288 MliMOIRS 01" 

his first inlcntiou ; iitid instead of reserving that portion to 
himsch' tor his ht'c, hkc the rest, he gave Mr. Ropi-r and 
his witc their share in possession immediately, l.i c(iiise- 
queuce of this, as the statute went only to annul the first 
conveyance, tlie Ropers jeserved their share without mo- 
Icstiition. Lady More was driven from the liouse at Chel- 
sea, her effects were taken from her, and Henry, of his 
mercy, allowed her twenty pounds a-year. John More and 
Mrs. Ixoper were for some time imprisoned, but in the end 
they obtained tlieir liberty.* 

Erasmus survived his friend ]\Iore only about a year; 
and concluded, in July 1.536, his long and laborious life, 
devoted to the opposition of barbarous ignorance and blind 
superstition, ;ind to the promotion of useful literature and 
true piety. These glorious objects he endeavoured to ac- 
complish in a mild and gentle manner, attacking not the 
persons of men, but the faults of the age ; till necessity 
compelled him to reply to those who assaulted him with the 
^utmost disingenuity and malice. 

Early in life he perceived, and disclosed to the world, 
that the religion of the ecclesiastics of his day consisted in 
minute observances and formal grimaces, with which ~the 
wicked could comply as well as the good. He, on the other 
hand, made religion to consist in what the worthy alone 
observe ; in the exercise of those christian virtues, which 
■are formed in the mind from a knowledge of our duty and 

* Roper and More. 

SIR T. MORE. 289 

a conviction of its importance. In vain he afterward act- 
ed the pacifier ; exhorting on one hand the court of Rome 
to proceed with more mildness, and the Lutherans, on the 
other, to behave with more submission and modesty. The 
pretensions of the former were so exorbitant, that nothing 
but capital punishments could support them ; and the re- 
formers were so shocked and provoked, so convinced that 
no compliance would be made with any of their requests, 
that they accounted it betraying the cause of truth to speak 
submissively to such incorrigible rulers. 

Erasmus hath been justly censured for his weakness in 
flattering a party, whose sentiments and conduct he in 
many points disapproved ; and in finding fault with those 
■whom, on the whole, he resembled much more than he 
did their adversaries. But they who compelled him to this 
conduct, Avho hated the name of reformation, and treated 
as vile heretics all who dared even to wish for amendment, 
were far more blameable. If he wanted courage by na- 
ture, they who took advantage of his infirmity, far more 
"wanted honesty and piety. 

A certain pious craft and an innocent time-serving, which 
however we must so use as not to betray the cause of reli- 
gion, ^-c. was the gospel which Erasmus preached to the 
Lutherans ; for he imagined that they and their cause would 
go to ruin, and that a worse condition of things would en- 
sue. Had they met his wishes, Ave might still have been 
involved in all the darkness which overspread the christian 

Vol. L P P 


■world in tlic fifteenth century, and for previous ages. So 
far would the popes and ecclesiastics have been from aban- 
doning their beloved interests, founded on ignorance and 
superstition, that a bloody inquisition would luive been 
established in Italy, Spain, and all christian countries, 
which Avould have extinguished for ever the lights then te- 
ginning to shine. Lutheranism, by gaining more stability 
than he expected, prevented the tyranny of an inquisition 
in Germany ; and the reformation of Calvin secured the 
hberty of other countries. Had all (Jermany submitted to 
Leo and Charles, in compliance with his timorous counsels, 
Erasmus himself would undoubtedly have been one of the 
first sufferers. The court of Rome, no longer apprehensive 
he should join the heretics, would have otFered him, a sa- 
crifice of a sW'eet-smelling savour, to the monks, who did 
a thousand times more service to tliat court, than a thousand 
such scholars as Erasmus. Had he lived sixteen years longer 
than he did, he would have seen an amazing change in the 
affairs of Charles, as well as in the religious state of Ger- 

The apprehension of losing his revenues, the reputation 
he still enjoyed in the court of Rome, and was loath to re- 
linquish, and possibly the fear of being excommunicated 
and proscribed, nay poisoned or assasssinated, might work 
together upon one of more courage than Erasmus, and re- 
strain him from speaking freely of the controversies then 
agitated. He still, however, maintained the truth, though 
cautiously and obliquely. I'hough he frecpiently censured 

Sm T. MORE. 291 

Lutlier, he heartily wished he might carry his point, and 
extort from his enemies some rcfoi-niation of doctrine and 
manners ; but, as he could not imagine that Luther would 
succeed, he adhered outwardly to the stronger party. The 
fear of want cannot have intiuenced him to say and do 
what he thought unlawful ; but the fear of disobliging his 
best friends, as Henry VIII, Charles V, the popes, George 
of Saxony, Wolsc}', W'arham, More, Campegius, Bembus, 
Sadolet, and others, might influence his judgment though 
he was not aware of it. There is no necessity to suppose, 
that he acted ao-ainst his conscience in adhcrino; to the 
church of Rome ; no, he persuaded himself that he did as 
much as piety and prudence required, in freely censuring 
her defects. The bold and resolute will greatly prefer the 
conduct of Luther ; who, as the apologists of the good 
scholar must allow, acted far more like an apostle or pri- 
mitive christian, than did Erasmus. 

Concord is undoubtedly a valuable blessing ; yet it is not 
to be purchased at the price of truth and liberty. These 
are infinitely more estimable than a sordid trancpiillity be- 
neath the yoke of falsehood and arbitrar}- dominion, under 
which the christian republic becomes a base faction, soli- 
citous only of enjoying the present, and neglecting every 
thing laudable, under the pretext of preserving peace. And, 
had the pacific schemes of Erasmus been pursued, such 
would probably have been the present state of Christianity. 
Though divisions in general do much harm, thej' have at 
least produced this good ; the truth of the gospel, and a 

Pp 2 


christian liberty wliich acquicscetli onl}' in the decisions of 
Christ, arc not entirely banished trom the earth, as they 
would liave been -without the struggles ol' our ancestors^ 
I'hey jModuced no snudl benefit to the uien)ory of Erasmus 
himself; who having his works condemned by theological 
cabals, and mangled by inquisitions, which struck out the 
most valuable part of his writings, would have been stig- 
matised through succeeding ages, if a party had not arisen 
in Europe, Avhich willingly forgives him his weakness and 
irresolution, for the sake of his iisetul philological and theo- 
looical labours ; and gave him a second lile, and recom- 
mended him to the christian world, by an elegant and faith- 
ful edition of his works. 

Erasmus, it hath been said, was not rewarded in i)ropor- 
tion to his merit. Yet, if we consider how many presents, 
invitations, and favours he received, how many he refused, 
and how little inclination lie had for ecclesiastical prefer- 
ments (more of Avhich he might have obtained), we cannot 
class him with the inj dices literati. In him we have a 
Tery remarkable instance of a man, avIio, with numerous 
disadvantages of birth and education, friendless and j)oor, 
overcame every obstacle, and, by dint of talent and in^ 
dustry, became one of the first scholars of his age, ac- 
quiring the patronage of princes, nobles, and prelates, of 
the greatest names in church as well as state.* 

It is a pleasing circumstance in the history of two great 

* See Jortiu's Life of Erasmus. 

SIR T. MORE. 293 

men like More and Erasnuis, that the bond of fiiendship 
into which thej entered in early Vit'c, appears never to have 
been broken ; though, if we contrast the freedom of spirit 
disphiyed by the one, and the prejudices of the other, such 
an infraction may appear to have been sufficiently hazard^ 
ed. As l«te in his life as he could, the knight still corre- 
sponded with his friend, and shewed him to the last the 
same esteem which he had ever entertained for him. In 
one of tl;ese letters he gently admonisheth the great scholar, 
not to recant or retract anything ; but merely to conde- 
scend as far as he could to the infirmities of some honest 
and weak brethren. 'J'hus the bigotted advice which ]More 
hath been said to have given his friend is a misrepresenta- 
tion, though the use made by the reformers of the theolo- 
gical works of Erasmus might perhajis not unreasonably 
have contributed to diminish the knight's affection for him ; 
since he could not be well pleased to find himself pressed 
by such arguments.* 

We will add, by Avay of appendix to these jMemoirs, 
three letters by Erasmus relative to More. The first, to 
Ilutten, in drawing a portrait of the knight, will be found 
to describe minute particularities of his mind and bod}-. 
That to Budaeus contains a farther account of his manner 
of living and managing his family, and of the excellent dis- 
positions and uncommon erudition of his daughters. The 
last, published under the name IS ucerinus, gives us an ele- 
gant and pathetic account of the deaths of More and 

* Jortin. 


Fisher, and tliougli not acknowltdged by him, hath been 
commonly, antl with some probabdity, ascribed to Erasmus- 
As much ot" the spirit of tlicse letters would be lost by 
translation, they are given in the original language; and we 
will add a lew Testimonies, by the learned of his day, re- 
lative to ]\lore and his writings, Avhich appear to demand 
a place on an occasion like the present. 





Erasmus Rot. Ulrica Hutteno S, D. 

QaoD Thomx Mori ingenium sic deamas, ac pene dixeritn deperis, nimi- 
rum scriptis illius iniiammatus, quibus ut vere scribis nihil esse potest neque 
doctius neque festivius, istuc mihi crede clarissime Huttene tibi cum multis 
commune est, cum Moro mutuum etiam. Nam is vicissim adeo scriptorum 
tuorum genio delectatur, ut ipse tibi propemodum invideam. Haec videlicet 
est ilia Platonis omnium maxime amabilis sapientia, quae longe flagrantiores 
amores excitat inter raortales, quam uUs quamlibet admirabiles corporum 
formae. Non cernitur ilia quidem oculis corporeis, sed et animo sui sunt oculi, 
ut hie quoque verum comperiatur illud Grxcorum « 15 i^Hf yMict iti^diTron l^iv. 
Per bos fit aliquoties, ut ardcntissima charitate conglutineutur, inter quos nee 
colloquium nee mutuus conspectus intercessit. £t quemadmodum vulgo fit, 
ut incertis de causis alia forma alios rapiat ; ita videtur et ingeniorum esse 
tacita qusedam cognatio, qu5e facit ut certis ingcniis impense delectemur, cae- 
teris non item. 

Cseterum, quod a me flagitas, ut tibi totum Morum velut in tabula depin> 
gam, utinam tarn absolute pneslare queam quam tu vehementer cupis. Nam 
-mihi quoque non injucundum fuerit interim in amici multo omnium suavisfimi 

Voir. I. Q q 


conlcmplationc vcrsari. Scd priinum i T«»]i5 i>}(it i/ur omncs Mori dotes pcr- 
spexisse. DeinJc Iiuud scio an illi- luturus sit, a qtiolibct artifice depingi scsc. 
Sec cnim arbltror Icvioris esse opcrK Monim eflingere, quain Alexandrum 
Magniiin aut Arliiileiii, nee illi quam hie iiostcr iinmortalitate digniores crant. 
Tale argumentijin prorsus Apcllis cujuspiam inanum dcsiderat ; at vcreor, iie 
ipse Fulvii Rutiibaeque similior sini quam Ajjellis. Expcriar taincn tibi totius 
hominis simulacrum dtlineare verius quam exprimcre, quantum ex diutiua 
domcsticaque consuctudine vol animadvertcre licnit wl mcminissc. Quoil si 
quando fiet ut vos aliqua Icgatio committat, turn demuin intelligcs quam non 
probum arlificem ad hoc negotii delegeris, vercorque plane nc me aut invi- 
dcntix incuses aut cxcutientiae, qui ex tarn multis bonis tarn pauca vel vidcrim 
lippus vel commemorarc voluerim invidiis. 

Atque ut ab ca parte cxordiar qua tibi Worus est ignolissiraus, statura mo- 
deque corporis est infra proceritalem, supra taracn notabilem humilitatcm. 
V'erum omnium membrorum tanla est symmctria, ut nihil hie omnino dcsi- 
deres ; cute corporis Candida, facies magis ad candorem vergit quam ad pallo- 
rcm, quanquam a rubore procul abest nisi quod tennis admodum rubor ubique 
subllicct, capilli subnigro flavore, sive mavb sufllavo nigrore, barba rarior, 
oculi subcaesii maculis quibusdam inferspersi, quse spix;ics ingenium arguere 
solct fclicissimum, apud Britannos etiam amabilis habetur, cum nostri nigrore 
magis capianlur. Ncgant ullum oculorum genus minus infcstari vitiis. Vul- 
tus ingenio respondet, gratam et amicam fcstivitatem semper prse se ferens, ac 
nonnihil ad ridenlis habitum compositus ; atque, ut ingenue dicam, appositior 
ad jucunditatem quam ad gravilatcm aut dignitatem, etiamsi longissime abest 
ab ineptia sciirrilitatcque. Dexter humerns paulo vidctur eminentior Isevo, 
prcscrtim cum incedit, id quod illi non accidit natura sod assuetudine, qualia 
permulta nobis Solent adharrers. In reliquo corpore nihil est quod offendat, 
manus tantum subrusticae sunt ; ita duntaxat, si ad reliquam corporis specieni' 

Ipse omnium qus ad corporis cultum attincnt semper a puero negligentissi- 
mus fuit, adeo ut nee ilia magnopere curare sit solitus, quae sola viris esse cu- 
randa docet Ovidius. |Fonnx venustas qux fuerit adolescenti, nee otiam 


licet atlSf Kit^dfiiii conjiccrc; quanquam ipse novi liominera non majorem annis 
viginti tribus, nam nunc non multum excessit quadragesimum. Valetudo 
prospera magis quam robusta, sed tamcn quse qnantislibet laboribus sufSciat 
honesfo cive dignis, nullis aut certe paucissirais morbis obnoxia. Spes est vi- 
vacem fore, quando patrem liabet admodum natu grandem sed mire virenti ve- 
gelaque senectufe. Niminem adbuc villi minus morosum in delectu ciborum. 
Ad juvenilem usque setatem aquae potu delectatus est, id illi patrium fuit. Vc- 
rutn hac in re ne cui raolestus essef, fallebat convivas e stanneo poculo cervi- 
siam bibens, camque aquse proximam, frequenter aquam meram. Vinum, 
quoniam illic mos est ad idem poculum vicissira invitare sese, summo ore 
nonnunquara libabat, ne prorsus abhorrere videretur, simul ut ipse communi- 
bus rebus assuesceret. Carnibus bubulis, salsamentis, pane secundario ac ve- 
hementer fernientato libentius vescebatur, quam lib cibis quos vulgus habet in 
deliciis. Alioqui ncutiquara abhorrens aJj omnibus qux voluptatem innoxiara 
adferunt etiam corpori. Lactariorum, et eorum foeluum qui nascuntur in ar- 
boribus, semper fuit appetentior ; esum ovorum in deliciis habet. Vox neque 
grandis est nee admodum exilis, sed quae facile penetret aures, nihil habens 
canorum ac molle sed plane loquentis est ; nam ad musicam vocalem a natura 
non videtur esse compositus, etiamsi delcclatur omni musices gencrc. Linn-ua 
mire explanata art iculataque, nihil habens nee prseceps nee htesitans. Cuitu 
simplici delectatur, nee sericis purpurave aut catenis aurcis utitur, nisi cum 
integrum non est ponere. Dictu mirum quam negligens sit ceremoniarum 
quibus hominum vulgus aestimat morum civilitatem ; has ut a nomine exigit, 
ita aliis non anxie prxsfat ncc in congressibus nee in conviviis, licet harum non 
sit ignarus, si lubcat uti. Sed niuliebre putat viroque indignum, cjusmodi 
ineptiis bonam temporis partem absumerc. 

Ab aula princifnimque familiaritate olim fuit alieuior, quod illi semper pe- 
culiantcr inrisa fuerit tjrannis quemadmodum squalitas gratissima. Vix au- 
tcm rcperies ullani aulam fcim niodestam quas non muKum habeat strepitus at- 
que ambifionis, multum luci, multum luxus, quaeque prorsus absit ab omni 
specie tyrannidis. Qiiin nee in lienrici VJil. aulam pertiahi poluit nisi multo 
negotio, cum hoc pcincipe nee optari quicquam possit civilius ac modcstius. 
Natura libertatis aiqne otii est avidior, sed quemadmodum otio cum datur lu- 
bens utitur, ita quoties poscit res, nemo vigilantior aut patieutior. Ad ami- 

Qq 2 


citiam natus factusque videtur, cujiis et sincerissiraiis est cultor, ct longc ten;i- 
cisbimus est. Nee ille mctuit t«ai/?»a/«> ab Hcsiotla * paruru laudalain. Nulli 
non patct ad iieccssitudinis foediis. Ncqiinqiiain moiosui iu dcligcudo, coiu- 
modissimus in alcudo, constatitissiinus in rctinendo. Si foris incidit in queni- 
piani, cujus vitiis mcderi non possit, hunc per occasioncin diiniltiU dissucns 
araicitiam^ non abrumpciis. Quos sinceros repcrit, et ad inyeniuiu suum ap- 
positos, horum consuetudiiic fabulisque sic delectatur, ut in Lis rebus prseci- 
puani vitse voluptatcni ponere videatur. Nam a pila, alca, cliaitis, cxU-iisqiic 
lusibus, quibus viilgus proccruni tenipom txdiiim solct fullere, prorsiis ah- 
horret. Porro ut propriaruni reruni est negligciitior, ita nemo diligentior iu 
curandis amicorum ncgoliis. 

Quid multiij ? si qu'is absolutum vene amicitise rcqnirat exemplar, a ne- 
Hiine recfius pctierit quam a Moro. In convictu tarn rara comifas ac morum 
snavitas, ut nemo tain tristi sit ingcnio qucm non cxbilaref, nulla rc> tam 
atrox cujus (sedium non disculiat. Jam indc a pucro sic jocis est ddcctatus, 
ut ad bos natus videri possit ; sed in his nee ad scurrili(a(cm usque progrcssus 
est, nee mordacitatcm unquam araavit. Adolescciis comoediolas et scripsit et 
e^it. Si quod dictum csset salsius] etiam in ipsum tortuni, tainen amabat ; 
usque adco gaudet salibus argutis, ct ingcnium rcdolentibiis ; mule ct cpigram- 
niatis lusit juveiiis, et Luciano cum primis est delectatus, quin et milii, ut 
Morias Encomium scriberem, hoc est, ut canielus saltarcm, fuit auctor. Nihil 
autcm in rebus humanis obvium est unde ille non venetur voluptatera, etiam 
in rebus maxime seriis. Si cum eruditis ct cordatis res est, delectatur ingcnio ; 
si cum indoclis ac stuKis, fruitur illorum stultilia. Ncc offenditur morionibus, 
niira dextcrilate ad omnium aiiectus sese accommodans. Cum mulieribus fere, 
atque etiam cum uxore, non nisi lusus jocosque tractat. Diceres altcrum quen- 
dam esse Democritum, aut potius Pylhagoricum ilium philosophum, qui va- 
cuus anirao per raercatum ol)ambulans, contemplatur tumultus vendentium 
atque ementium. Nemo minus ducitur vulgi judicio, sed riirsus nemo minus 
abest a sensu communi. Prxcipua illi voluptas est si)ectare formas, ingenia ct 
affectus diversorum animantium ; proinde nullum fere genus est avium quod 
domi non alat, si quod aliud animal vulgo rarum, veluti simia, vuipes, vi- 

» E?Y. 715. 


Terra, mustcla, et bis consirailia. Ad hsc si quid exoticum, aut alioqai spsc- 
tanduin occurrat, avidissime mercari solet, afque liis rebus uadique dooiuin 
habct itibtructam, ut nusquani non sit obvimii quod oculus ingredientium de- 
morclur ; ac totics silii reiiovat voluptatem, quoties alios conspicit oblectari. 
Cum astas ferret, noa abhorruit a puellaruin. amoribus, sed citra iufainiain, et 
sic ut oblatis magis fuerctur quani captatis, ct aniino mutuo caperetur potius 
quam coitu. 

Bonas litcras a priinis statim annis hauserat. Juvenis ad Giaecas liieras ac 

philosophise sfudium sese applicuit, adeo uon opitulaate patre, viro alioqui 

prudenti proboque, ut ca conantem omni subsidio destitucret ; ac pene pro 

abdicato haberet, quod a patriis studiis desciscere videretur, nana is Britanni- 

carum Icgum peritiam profitetur. Quse protessio, ut est a veris Uteris alienis- 

simn, ita apud Britannos cum primis babentur inagai clarique, qui in hoc 

generc sibi pararuut auc(ori(atem, ncc tcmere apud iUos alia via ad rem ac 

gloriam paraiidam magis idonea. Siquidem pleramque nobililateia illius iu- 

sulae peperit lioc sludiorum genus. In eo negant quenquam absolvi posse, nisi 

plurimos annos insudarit. Ab hoc igitur cum ij«n injuria abhorreret adole* 

scentis ingenium, melioribus rebus natum, tamen post degustatas scholasticas 

disciplinas, sic in hoc vcrsatus est, ut ncque consulerent quenquam libentius 

litigatores, neqne qusestnm uberiorem feceret quisquam eorum qui nihil aliud 

agebant ; tanta erat vis ac celeritas ingenii. Quin ct evolvendis ortbodoxorum- 

voluminibus non segncm oix?ram impendk. Augustiiii Jibros De Civitate Dei 

publice professus est adhuc pene adolescens autlitorio frequent!, nee puduit nee 

pcenituit sacerdofes ac senes a juvene profano sacra discerc. Interim et ad 

pietatis studium totum animum appuiit, vigiiiis, jejuniis, prccatienibus aliis- 

que consimilibus progymnasmatis sacerdotium mcditans. Qua quidem in re 

uon paulo plus ille sapiebat, quam pleriquc isti qui temere ad tam arduara pro- 

&ssiouem ingciuut sese, nutlo prius sui pcriculo facto. 

Neque quicquam obstabat' quo minus sese huic vitse generi addiceret, nisi 
quod uxoris desiderium non posset excutere. Maluit igitur raaritus esse castus, 
quam sacerdos impurus. Tamen virgincm duxit admodum puellam, daro ge- 
nere natam, rudem adhuc, utpote ruri inter parentes ac sorores semper habitam, 
quo magis ilU liccret illam ad suos mores fingerc. Hanc et literis instruendam 

50? APPENDIX. , 

curavit et omiii Musiccs gcncrc dodam reddidit, planequc falein pene finxcrat 
quicum lubuissct iiniversam xtafem cxigere, ni mors prematura puellam siis- 
tulissct c medio ; scd cnixara liberos aliquot, quorum adhuc supcrsunt pucllx 
Ires, Margarda, Alojsia, Cecilia, puer unus Joannes. Neque diu codebs vi- 
vere sustinuit, licet alio Tocantibus amicorum consiliis ; paucis mensibus a I'u- 
iiere uxoris viduam duxit magis curandae familix quam voluplati, quippe nee 
bcUam admoduin ncc puoUam, ut ipse jocari sold, sed acrcm ac vigilantcm 
matrcm, quicum tamcn perinde comiler suavi(erque vivit, ac si pucUa 
ford forma quautumlibet amabili. Vix ulhis raaritus a sua tantum obsequii 
impetrat imperio atque severitudine, quantum hie blandltiis jocisquc. Quid 
cnim non impetret, posteaquam eflecit, ut mulicr jam ail senium vcrgens, ad 
hoc animi minimc mollis, postremo ad rem attcnlLssima, cilliara, tcstudine, mo- 
nochordo, tibiisque canere disceret, et in liisce rebus quotidic praescriptnm ojK'rx 
pensuni exigenti marito redderet ? Consiniili comitate totani familiam modera- 
tur, ia qua nulla tragxdia, nulla rixa. Si quid exstitcrit, protinus aut mede- 
tur, autcomponit. Neque quen quam unquam dimisit ut inimicum, aut ut 
inimicus. Quin hujus domus fatalis qua'daiu videtur felicitas, in qua nemo 
vixit qui non provectus sit ad raeliorem fortunam, nuUus unquam ullam fiunae 
labem conlraxit. Quin vix ullos rcperias, quibus sic convenerit cum matre, 
ut buic cum noverca, nam pater jam alteram induxerat; utramque non minus 
adamavit ac matrem. Nuper induxit tertiam, hac Morus sancte dejerat se nihil 
unquam vidisse melius. Porro crga parentes ac liberos sororesquc sic affcctus 
est, ut nee amet moleste, nee usquam desit oflicio pidatis. Animus est a sor- 
dido lucro alienissiraus. Liberis suis semovit e I'acultatibus quod illis satis esse 
putat, quod supercst laigiter efl'uudit. 

Cum advocationlbus adhuc alerdur, nnlli non dedit aniicum vcrufnquc con- 
silium, magb illorum commodis prospiciens quam suis ; plerisque solitus per- 
suaderc uti litem coniponereiit, minus enim hie fore dispendii. Id si minus 
impdrabat, turn rationcm indicabat qua possent quam uiininio dispendio li(i- 
garc, quando quibusdani liic animus est ut litilwis etiani ddectentur. In urbc 
Londouiensi, in qua natus est, annos aliquot judicem egit in causis civilibus ; 
id munus, ut minimum habet oneris (nam nou sedetur nisi die Jovis usque ad 
prandium) ita cum primis lionoriticum babdur. Nemo plures cansas absolvit, 
nemo se gessit iutegrius, remissa plerisque jwcuaia, quam ex praescriplo dcbent 


APP£x\DIX, 303 

qui litigant. Siqiiidcm ante litis contestationcm actor depoiiit Ires drachmas, 
totidem reus, nee amplius qiiicquani fas cbt exigcre. His moribus cffecit, ut 
fivitati suae longe cliarissinius cssct. Dfcreverat autem bac fortuna esse con- 
tentus, qua; ct satis babcret auctorilatis, iiec tanieu cssct giavibus obnoxia pe- 

Semel atque iterum extrusus est in legationem, in qua cum se cordatissime 
gessissct, non conquievit serenissimus rex Henricus, ejus iioininis octavus, do- 
nee honiineni in aulam suam pertraberef. Cur enim non dieam pcrtrabcret ? 
NuUus unquam vcbeaientius ambiit in aulam admitti, quiui bic sluduit cffu- 
gere. Verum cum esset optinio regi in aninio fumiliam suam eruditis, gravibus, 
cordatis et integris viris diifertam reddere, cum alios permullos, turn Morum in 
prirais accivit ; quern sic in intimis babet, ut a se nunquam patiatur disccdere. 
Sive seriis utendum est, nibil illo eonsultius ; sive visum est regi fabulis amas- 
nioribus laxare animum, nullus comes festivior. Sxpe res arduae judiccm gra- 
vem ct cordatum postulant, bas sic Morus discutit ut utraque pars babcat gra- 
tiam. Nee tamen ab eo quisquam impetravit, ut munus a quoquara acciperet. 
Felices res publicas, si Mori similes raagistratus ubique praeficeret princeps ! 
Nee interim ullura accessit suparcilium. Inter tantas negotiorum raolcs, et ve- 
terum araiculorum meminit, et ad literas adamatas subindc redit. Quicquid 
dignate valet, quicquid apud amplissimum regem gratia pollet, id omne ju- 
vandx reipublicse, juvandis araicis impendit. Semper quidem adfuit animus 
de cunctis benemerendi cupidissimus, mireque pronus ad misericordiam ; eum 
nunc magis excrit, quando potest plus prodesse- Alios pecunia sublevat, alios 
auctoritate tuetur, alios commcndatione provehit ; quos alioqui juvare non po- 
test, his consilio succurit ; nullum unquam a se tristcm dimisit. Diceres Morum 
esse publicum omnium inopum patronum. Ingens lucrum sibi putat accessisse, 
si quem oppressum sublevavit, si perplexum et impeditum explicuit, si aliena- 
tum redegit in gratiam. Nemo lubentius collocat beneficium, nemo minus ex- 
probrat. Jam cum tot nominibus sit felicissimus, et felicitatis comes fere soleat 
esse jactantia, nullum adiiuc mortalium mihi videre contigit qui longius abes- 
set ab hoc vitio^ . 

Sed ad studiorum commemorationera redco, quae me Moro, mihiqne Morum 
potissimum conciliaruut. Primam aetatcm carmine potissimum exercuit, moz 


diu luctatus est ut prosam orationcm reddcrct moUiorem, per omne scripli go 
nus stylum exerccns, qui cujusmodi sit quid attinct commemorare ? lib! prae- 
sertim qui libros ejus semper habeas in manibus. Declamationibus prsecipuc 
dclcctatus est, ct in his, materiis adoxis, quod in his acrior sit ingeniorum 
cxercitatio. Unde adolcscens ctiamnum dialogum moliebatur, quo Piatonis 
communitatem ad uxores usque defendit. Luciani Tyrannicida: respondit, quo 
in nrgumenlo me vohjit aiitagonistam habere ; quo wrtius pcriculum faceret, 
ccquid profccisset in hoc genere. Utopiam hoc consilio edidit, ut indicaret 
quibus rebus fiat, ut minus commode habeant respublica? ; scd Brilannicam 
potissiinum eilinxit, quam habct peiiitus perspectam cognitamque. Secundum 
librum prius scripserat per otium, mox yter occasionem primum adjecit extem- 
pore; atque hinc nonnuUa dictionis inaequalittis. 

Vix alium reperias qui felicius dicat extempore, adco fclici ingcnio felix lin- 
gua subservit. Ingenium prxscus et ubique prxvolans, memoria parata, quae 
cum omnia liabeat velut in numerate, promte et iiicontanter suggerit quicquid 
lempus aut res postulat. In disputationibus nihil fingi potest acatius, adeo ut 
summis ctiam theologis ssepe negotium facessat, in ipsorum arena vcrsans. 
Joannes Coletus, vir acris exactique judicii, in familiaribus coloquiis subindc 
dicere solet Brilannu non tiisi unicum esse int^cniuni, cum hiec insula tot egrc- 
giis ingeniis floreat. Verx pietatis non indiligcns cultor est, etiamsi ab omni 
superstitione alienissimus. Habet suas lioras quibus Deo litet prccibus, non ex 
more sed e pectore depromtis. Cum amicis sic fabulatur de vita futuri secuh", 
ut agnoscas ilium ex animo loqui, neque sine optima spe. Ac talis Morus est 
ctiam in aula. Et postea sunt qui putcnt christianos non iiiveniri nisi in mo- 
nasteriis. Talcs viros cordatisslmus rex in familiam suam atque adeo in cubi- 
culum non solum admittit, vcrum etiam invitat, ncc invitat modo verum etiam 
pertrahit. Hos habet arbitros ac testes perpetuos vitae suae, hos habet in con- 
siliis, hos habet ilinerum comitcs. Ab his stlpari gaudet, potius quam luxu 
perditis jnvcnibus aut mulierculis, aut ctiam torquatis Midis, aut Insinceris of- 
iiciis ; quorum alius ad volupfatcs incptas avocet, alius ad tyrannidem in- 
flammct, alius ad expilaudum populura novas technas suggerat. 

In hac aula si vixisses Hultche, sat scio Tursnm aliam aulara describeres, et 
?7rfjoKfos esse desincrcs, quanqnam tii quoque cum eo principe vi^is ut irite- 


griorem nee optare possis. Neque desunt qui rebus optimis faveant, veluti 
Stromerus ac Coppus. SeJ quid ista paucitas a 1 (aiitma examea insigtiiuna 
virorum, Monfjoii, Linacri, Pacsei, Coleti, Stocschleii, Latimeri, Mori, Ton- 
stalli, Clcrici, atque aliorum his adsimilium ? quorum queincumque norainaris, 
mundum omnium virttitum ac disciplinarum semel dixeris. Mihi vero spes est 
haudquaquam vulgaris, fore ut Albertus, unicum his temporibus nostrx Ger- 
manise ornamotitum, et plures sui similes in suam allegat familiam, et ceteris 
principibus gravi sit exempio, ut idem et ipsi suae quisque domi faccre stude- 
ant. Flabes imaginem ad optimum exemplar a pessimo artifice non optime 
delineatam. Ea tibi minus placebit, si continget JVIorum nosse propius. Sed 
illud tamen interim cavi, ne mihi possis impitigere quod tibi minus paruerim, 
neve semper opprobres niraium breves epistolas. Etiamsi hacc nee mihi scri- 
benti visa est longior nee tibi legenti, sat scio prolixa videbitur; id faciei 
Mori nostri suavitas. Verum, ne nihil ad postremam tuam epistolam respon- 
deam, &c. Antwerpiae, X. Cal. Aug. Anno 1519. (Epist. 447). 

Vol. I. R r 


JErasmiis Rot, GuUclmo Budteo, S. D. 

Est quoil JMoro gratuleris. Niim rex Iiunc, ncc aiu- 

bientem nc(? flagitantem, munerc magiiifico honeslavit, atldito salario ncqiia- 
quam posnUendo ; est cniin priacipi suo a thesauris. Ea functio apuil Bri- 
tannos, ut est splcndida cum priinis atf]ue honoriflca, ita non adinudum est 
obnoxia nee iiividix riec molestis nej^otiis. Erat competitor, lioino sat gralios- 
Tis, qui sic ambiebat Iioc muiieris, ut non gravarelur suo victu ciboque gcrerc. 
At rex optiinus hie ccrtissininm in Moruni favoris argumentiim dedit, qui non 
ambienti snlariimi ctiam addere malucrit, quam gratuitiim magistratuni ad- 
inittcre. Ncc hoc contentiis princeps benignissiinus, equitis aurati digni(atcni 
adjecit. Ncqiic dubitandum est qiiin illiim sit amplioribus ornnmentis ali- 
quando cumulaturus, quum scsc oiFerct occasio. Siquidcnx caclibes cveherc 
longe procllvius est principibus. At Morus sic est admixtus ordini conjugum, 
ut nee uxoris obitu sit emancipandus. Priorcm enim, quam virginera dux- 
erat, extubt ; et banc viduus viduam duxit. Sed hunc principis animum hoc 
magis gratulor IMoro, quod quicquid huic accesserit vel autoritatis vel gratias, 
id existiraem bonis sludiis accc<)ere ; quibus illc sic favet, ut si pares cssent 
animo I'acultates, non decsscl apud Britannos feiicibus ingeniis candidus ac 
beiiignus Maecenas. Solent aulie principum idem facere quod mcdici, qui cor- 
pus sibi (raditum primura inaniunt, niox implent ac vegctant. Nee diibito 
quin Moro noslro simile quippiam acciderit hactenus. Quid libi venerit usu, 
tute melius ncsti. Ef tamen illius bciiignitatem scnsenmt ingcnia, quum adeo 
non abuiidaret illi quod largiretur, ut sere gravaretur alieno. 

Nee hac parte solum ornat studia, quod ipso doctissiraus candide favet 
doctis omnibus, verum eliam quod universam familiam honestissimis literarum 
studiis excolendam curat ; novo quidem hactenus exemplo, sed quod brevi 
plures ni fallor sint imitaluri, adeo felicitcr succedit. Habet filias Ires, quarum 
maxima natu Wargareta jam nupta est juveni, primum beafo, deindc mori- 
bus integerrimis ac modest issim is, postremo non alieno a nostris stndiis. Om- 
nee a teneris annis curavit imbuendas, primum castis ac Sanctis moribus, deinde 
politioribus Uteris. I'iliabus tribus quartam adjuuxit puellam, quam benig- 


n/tatis gratia alit, ut illis sit soJalis. Habct privig^am mira forma raroque 
ingenio pudlam, annos j;iin aliquot nuptam juveni iioa indocto, sed cujus 
moribus nihil sit niagis aureum. llnbet filium ex uxore priore, natura annos 
plus minus Iredecira, ex libcris natu ininimii:Ti. An(c annum visum est i\loro 
milii specimen aliquod exhibere, quantum in lileris profecissent. Jussit ut 
omnes ad me scriberent, et quidem suo quisqiie Marte. Nee argumentum est 
suppedilatum, nee in sermone quicquam est correclum ; eteuim cum illi 
schedas obtulissent patri castigandas, ille velut offensus incommoda scriptura, 
jussit ut eadem accuratius ac purius describerent. Id ubi factum est, ne syl- 
laba quidem mutata, literas oljsignatas ad me misit. Credc mihi, Budae, 
nihil asque sum admiratus. In sensibus nihil erat ineptum aut puellare; sermo 
talis, ut sentires esse quotidie proticientium. 

Hunc chorum amabilem una cum sponsis duobus domi habet. NuTlam illic 
videbis otiosam, nullam ineptiis muliebribus occupatam. lliis T. Livius est 
in manibus. Nam eo progressa; sunt, ut auctores hujusmodi legant ct intelli- 
gant citra interpretem, nisi si quod incidat verbum, quod me quoque fortassis 
aut mci similem fuerat remoraturum. Uxor, ingenio magis ac return usu 
quam eruditione valcns, mira dexteritate moderatur omne collegium, l^yoJiaVlK 
cujuspiam vicibus fungcns, pcnsum cuique prasscribens aique exigens, neque 
sinens ccssare qucnquam nee frivolis occupari. Soles in Uteris tuis subindc 
queri, quod tua causa male audiret philologia, quae tibi duo mala conciliasset. 
Valetudinis ac rei familiaris dispendium. At Moiiis noc agit, ut omnibus no- 
minibus, et apud oniiJcS l)ene audiat ; hoc Uteris debere se prasdicans, quod 
prosperiorc sit valetudine, quod optimo principi, quod suis et extcris charus et 
gratiosus, quod re lautiore, quod sibi quod amicis jucundior, quod patriae 
quod cognatis et affinibus utiUor, quod ad aula; commcrcium quod ad pro- 
cerum convictum quod ad omnem vitae consuetudinem accommodalior, deni- 
que quod superis gratior. Primum male audicbant studia, quod sensum com- 
munem adimerent addicto cultori. Nulla est profeclio, nulla negotia tarn 
mulla tam ardua, qux libellos Moro de manibus exculiant ; et tamen vix alium 
reperies qui magis sit omnibus omnium horarum homo, qui ad obscquium fa- 
ciltor, ad congressus magis obvius, in coUoquio magis alaccr, quique tantum 
verae prudentiae cum tanta morum suavitate conjunxerit. Quibus rebus factum 
est, ut quum ante paucos dies litera^m amor ad omne vitae vel praesidium vel 

\ R r 2 


ornamcnlmn liaberdur iiiutilis", nunc nemo pcnc sit magmlum, qui lii)cro5 ul 
majorum imasiiuibus ilignos agiioscat, nisi bonis lilcris criulitos. Quiii ct mo- 
iiarciiis ipsis b )na rcgalium di-conim pais abcssc viJotiir, in quibus litcrarum 
l»eritia ilesulcretur. 

Jam nemincm fere niorlaliiim non liabebat luce pcrsuasio, scxui fueminino 
litcras ct ad caslitatom ct ad fainaiu esse inulilcs. Nee ipse quondam prorsus 
ab iiac abliorrui scntciilia; vcruiu lianc luilii Moms peaitus excussit aiiimo. 
Etcniin quuni duabus rebus potissiniuni pei iclitetur puellaium castitas, olio ac 
lascivis lusibus, ab horum utroque litcrarum arcet amor. Nee alia res melius 
tuctur famam iutegram, quam mores incontamiiuUi. Nee ulla: firmius casta 
sunt, quam qua; judicio casta2 sunt. Nequc vero improbo consilium corum, 
qui manuariis opcris prospiciunt pudicitia- (iliarum. Verum nulla res sic <o- 
tum pucUx pectus occupat, ut studium. Alque liinc pruiter hoc I'ructus, quod 
animus ab otio pernicioso proliibetur, liauriuntur optima praecepta, qua; raen- 
lem ad virlutcm .et instituaiit et inllamment. iMultis simpiicilas ct rerum 
inscitia pudicitiae jacturam attulit, priusquam scirent quibus rebus tantus 
thesaurus pcriclitaretur. Nequc video cur maritis sit ractucndum, iic minus 
liabeant morigcras si doctas habeant, nisi si qui tales siiit, ut ea velint cxi- 
gerc ab uxoribus qua^ non sunt cxigciida a probis matronis. Irao mea sen- 
Icntia nihil est intractabilius inscitia. Cerle hoc proestat animus cultura stu- 
diorum exercit<itus, ut intelligat aequas probasque rationes, vidcatque quid dc- 
ceat quid expediat. Atque projicmodum persuasit, qui rem docuit. Ad hxc 
quum jucuiiditas (irmita.sque coiijugii magis ab animorum bcuevolentia, quam 
corporum amorc prodeiscatur, mullo (enacioribus vinculis junguntur quos in- 
geniorum quoque charitas copulat ; magisque vcretur maritum uxor, qucra 
agnoscit ct prcccptorcni. Nee ideo minus habebit pietatis, quia minus habct 
supcrstitionis. Equidcm nialo talenlum auri puri, quam tria talenta multo 
plumbo scoriaque viliata. Audimus passim alias mulicrcuias sic a coiicioric 
rcdcuutcs, ut prxdicent mirifice fuissc coucionatum qui dixit, ac vuUum ho- 
minis grapliicc depingunt ; ccterum nequc quid dixerit, nequc quale sit quod 
dixit rcccnscrc possunt. Hx tibi totam pene concioncm ordinc rcferunt non 
bine dclcctu ; si quid stulte, si quid impie, si quid extra rem eflutiit ecclesiastes 
(qucmadmodum liodie iion raio fieri videmus) id norunt vol ridcre vcl nrgligcrc 
vel dclcatiui. Atque hoc dcmum c^t audire sacras conciones; cum hujusmodi 


demum vere jucundum est conviverc. Plurimum enim ab islis dissenlio, qui 
coHJiigcs non in alium usum babent quam ad obscqiiiiim vohiptatis, quam ad 
rem magis apposiffe sunt semifatux. Pectus habcat oporfcf, qux faniiliam 
contineat in officio, qus liberorum mores fingat ac formct, qux marito per 
omnia satisfaciat. 

Caetcrum cum proximo coUoquio illud objccissem Moro, quod si quid hu- 
manitus accidcret, fore ut gravius discruciaretur earum desiderio in quibus in- 
stituendis taiitum insumsisset operse, respondit incontanter, si quid accidcrit 
quod viliari non potest, malim eas mori doctas quam indoctas. Moxque milii 
venit in mcntem Pliocionis, ni fallor, apoplithegma, cui bibituro cicutam cum 
uxor ncchimartt mi vir innocens morieris ; quid, inquit, ais uxor, anme vialles 
nocentem mori ? Interim ilia cogitatio subiit animum meum, ut vos duos ceu 
duces qnosdam cximios in boc laudis genere componam, veluti si quis Camil- 
lum commiUat cum Scipionc Africano. Tu ct pluribus annis et iniquiore sc- 
culo cum lilerarum hoslibus es contiiclatus, lioc carte calculo iloro superior. 
Cseterum quod tu in filiis tantum ac fratribus ausus es moliri, hoc ille non du- 
bitat et in uxoribus et in filiabus facere, fortiter confempla novi exempli invidia; 
quo nomine vicissim ille te prxcellif. Tu rursum libris edilis ulriusquc litera- 
ture proventum magis auxisti quam ille, copiosius eliam, uti nobis pollicemur, 
in pobtcrum aucturus, si modo coeperis opes tuas a scriuiis po- 
pulum cUirgiri. Quanquam ct a Moro magnum aliquid cxspcclat juventus, 
quod ille mullum adbuc absit a scnectulc, ct patrem liabct non minorcm annis 
octoginta mire vircnti senectutc, ut vix alium reperias qui bcllius gcstct seta- 
lem ; uncle licet et Moro lougacvitatem ominari. &c. 

Ex rure Anderlacensi, Anno 152! (Epist. 603.) 


Qulidmus Covrinus Nucerinus Fhilippo Montaiio, S. D. 

QuoNiAM juxia Pjlliagorac scnteutiam oportet omnia esse commuiiia, reck- 
coUogit Jiiiripidcs, et tlolorcs inUr amicos oporterc communes esse. Accipics 
ii^itur, vir amicissimc, ab amicu minime laeta, seil omiii lacrymarum gciierc 
bonis omnibus ticplorauda : quanquam arbitror iamam istuc jamdudum omnia 
pcrtulissc priusquam ad nos, dc morte quorundam npud Anglos insignium 
vjrorum, sed prxcipue Tbomae Mori, dum viveret ejus rcgai baronis inciyti, 
ac supremi judici:>, qucm illi cancc4L»rium appellant. Qua dignitatc non est 
apud cam gcntem alia major, cxcepto rege ; coque qunm proiiil, aurcum sccp- 
trum imposila corona cxsarea gcslalur ad unum lams, ad alterum hbcr. Qux 
vero sum narraturus, parlim e scbedis Galbce scriplis, quae Jiic circumfcrun- 
tur, desumpsi, partim c rumoribus ; nam nihil burum vidi. ISed priust^uura 
aggrcdiar, paucis dcscribam L/ondoniciisis urbis situni. 

Civitas in latum angusfa, ad Thamysim flumcn sic in longnm porrccta est, 
ut videatur non posse desinere, mide et nomcn videtur inditum; siquidim apud 
Flandros loca mari vicina Dinien appellant. Indidem dictum videtur Gal- 
iiarum Lugdunum, quasi dicas fo/igas ripas. Ad orienfem in extremo habet 
arccm bene munitam, qua regcs interdum utuntur, vulgus Turrim appellat. 
Sed in cadem servari solent yiri nobdi s, auf alias dignitatc quapiam prxmi- 
nentcs, qui videntur aliquid adversus rcgiam majeslatem deliquisse. In allero 
extremo ad occasum insignc monastermni est Benedictinorum, vulgus appellat 
Wcstmonastcrium : ct buic proximiim regis palatium structune vcteris, sed 
quo nunc regcs parum delectantur. Palatio adjuncta est domus spaciosissima, 
nullis fulta columnis, in qua sedent judiccs. L'trumque xdUicium ilumini im- 
minet, ut bine illinc cymba vebi possint. 

In hac arce Thomas IVIorus posteaquam raultis mensibus fuisset captivus, 
calend. Jul. ann. Dom. m.d.xxxv productus est ad modo diclam curiam, ca- 
pitis causam dicturus apud tribunal judicum a rcgc delegatorum. Ibat reus 
baculo innixus tarn longam viam, corporc gravi aegrotationc in carcere dcbili- 


tato, nihil tamen perturbationis vuUu prse sc ferens. Primum reciUiti sunt ar- 
ticuli criminum quae illi objicicbantur. ISIox cancellarius qui Moro successit, 
acdux -Nortfolciij hunc in modutn rciitn appcUarunt. 

* En vides Magister More (sic appellant mediocri dignilate proeditos) to 
graviter deliquisse in regiam majcslatem. Atlamen spcraraus tc, si niodo rc- 
sipiscas, et abjures istam obstinatam opinioncin, in qua liactcnus tarn procacitcr 
|)erstitisti, veniam a regis dementia consequuturum.' 

Ad hsec Moras ' Domini mei, ego summo cordis afFectu ago vobis gra- 

tias pro ista vestra arnica erga me voluntate : tantum illud oro Deum orani- 
potentem, conftrmare dignefur mc in hac qua nunc sum sententia, ut in ea 
perseverem usque ad mortem. Cseterum quum reputo quam prolixi quamque 
graves arliculi sunt quibus oneror, vereor ne mihi nee ingenium suppetat, nee 
memoria, ncc oratio qux sufficiat ad respondendum omnibus ; praesertim 
quum in carcerc tam diu fuerim detentus, in quo gravi xgrolatione contraxi 
corporis debilitatem, qus me nunc ctiara babet.' 

Turn jussu judicum allata est sella, in qua sederet. Ubi consedisset, prosc- 
quotus est institutum sermoueni hunc in modum. 

• Quod ad primum attinet articulum, qui conafur osteiidere meam in re- ■ 
gem malevolentiam in ncgotio posterioris matrimonii, contiteor ingenue, me 
Semper restitissc illius serenissimx majcstati. Nee est animus super hoc nc- - 
gotio quicquam aliud dicere, quam quod hactenus semper dixi, ad hoc urgente 
me conscientia : per quam ut non debebam, ita nee volcbam princiiM;m meum 
celare veritatcm. Nee liic est ulla proJitio qnx infenditur; quin potius, ni id 
fecissem, prxsertim in re tanti momcnti, untie pendebat mea sententia, et prin- ' 
cipis houos, et regni tranquillitas, turn vere fui.sscm, quod nunc objicitur, ma- 
levolus, perfidus ac proditor. Ob hoe delictum (si modo delictum appellan- 
dum est) gravissimas dedi pa.>nas, exufus omnibus facultatibus meis, ac pcr- 
petuo addictus carccri, in quo menses jam quindecem totos fui detentus. Sed 
his omissis tantum ad ca respondebo quse sunt liujus ncgotii prsecipua. Quod 
objicitur, mc incurrissc in poeoara violatas constitutionis, qu« proximo con- • 


silio proillla os(, mc jam in carcere agonto ; quasi malitioso anioio, ]iorfitliose, 
ac proJitoric rcgix majestati dctraxerim famam, honorcm ac dignitatem qux 
illi per diclam constiditioncm erat (ributa, videlicet quoJ ibi declaratnr snb^ 
Jesu Ciiristo supremnm caput ecclesiw Anglicanx : inprimis res|iondel)o ad 
hoc quod milii ol)jicitiir, quod Domino Secretario llcgis ac veneral)iii raajesta- 
tis illiiis consil oiftu^ qux mea esset do hoc edicto sententia, nihil aliud 
voluerim rcspondcre, quam me jam mundo mortuum esse, nee istiusmodi n&«! 
godisnmplius ^olicitari, sod tantum metlitari in passione domini nostri Jesu 
ChrisH. Dico me per islam vestram constitutionem ob hoc silcntium non posse 
(1 .;5in;iri ca|>itis, co quod nee vestrum cdictum, nee uUx leges mnndi possuiit 
qtieiiqnam ob silenfium a.lilicere morti, sed tantum ob dictum aut perpetratuni 
faciuus. Dc occullis enim solus judical Deus.' 

Ad haec respondit procurator regius interpellans : at tale silentium, inquit, 
cvidcns argumentum est animi male senticntis de jam ilicta constitutione. Nam 
omnis subditus sinccrus ac fidWIs regix majestati, si de dicta constitutione in- 
terrogetur, tenclur ct obligatur citra omnem dissimul itionem respondere cate- 
goric : cgium cdicium esse bonum, justum ac sanctum. 

Ad qux IVIorus : ' Si verum est quod habetur in legibus, eum qni tacct 
videri consentire, meum silentium confirmavit potius vestram constitutionem 
quam improbavit. Jam quod dicis, omnem subditum fidelem obligari ut re- 
spondeat caterorice si inlerrogclur, &c. rcspondeo, bonx fidci subditum 
magis obligatum esse Deo, conscientix, et animx sux, quam ulli alii rci in 
boc mundo, maxime si talis < onscicntia, qualis est mea, nihil ofi'cndiculi, nihil 
scditionis pariat (i.minosuo. Nam illud pro certo vobis aflirmo, quod nuUi 
raortalium unquam detexerim hac in re conscieutiam meam. 

' Vcnio nunc ad secundum accusationis caput, quo arguor contra dictam 
constitutionem molitus ac machinatus fuisse, eo quod ad Kofii-nsem scripserim 
octo pariaepislolarum, quibus ilium animarim adversus istud cdicium. Kqui- 
dcm vehementer optarim epistolas hie proferri ac recitarri, qux me vel con- 
vincerent vel liberarent. Cxierum quando illx, quemadmodum prxdicatis, 
per episcopum exustx sunt, ipse non gravabor recitarc sententiam earum. In 
earum quibusdam agebatur de uostris privatis negotiis, pro vctcre nostra ami- 


cida ac familiarUato. la ua;i qu:ulam conliticbatur responsum atl cpiscopi li- 
(eras quibus scire cupicliat, quLl et quo pacto rcspon.lissL-in do ista coastitu- 
tioiic. Ad id iiilul aliud lescripsi, nisi me jam meam composuLssu conscicrt- 
tiain, i.>sc compoiiertt suam. Aiiiiiia; mese periculo, ac teste Deo vobls asse- 
vcro, nii)il aliud ill illls Uteris a me scriptiim luisse ! Haniin igitur caiissa noii 
possum iKf vestram coiisiifutioiicni addici mi)rti. 

' Superest tcrtiiis arficulus, qm intendif, nno.I quiiin de vpstra constitutiono 
examinarcr, dixeriiu earn esse similcm gladio iitrii.qiie secanti, proptcrea quod 
si quis vdlet cam scrvare, [x-rderet aiii.uain ; si contradicere, pcrderet corpus. 
Idem q.ioniam, ut dicilis, re.poi.dit cpiscopiis Iluftbiisis, perspicunm esse infer 
nos fuisse conspiratio.iem. Ad Uxc respondeo, me uu.iquam fuisse loquutum, 
nisi coiiditionaliter : sic videlicet, si (ale asset cdictum, quaiis est ghidius utrin- 
que incidcns, quo pacto posset quis evitare, quiri in allerum incideret pericu- 
lura. mea fuit oratio. Qiiomodo rcsponderit episcopus, ncscio : si il- 
lius oratio cum mea congruebat, id ncquaquam accidit ex conspirationc, sed 
potius ex ini^eniorum ac doctrinaz similitudine. Brevitcr: illud pro certo ha- 
betotc, menunquam qnicquam raalifiosc fuisse loquutum advcrsus vestram con- 
stitutionem : at fieri potuit, ut ad benignam regis ciementiam aliquid malitiose 
fuerit deiatura.' 

Post hsEc vocati sunt per quondam ex ostiariis duodccim viri, juxfa gentis 
illius consuetudinem, quibus traditi sunt articuli, ut super illis consultarent, ac 
post consultationcm judicarcnt, ac pronunciarent, utrum Tliomas Morus mali- 
tiose obstitisset prjcdictx constitution! regis, an non. Qui quum per horx 
quartam partem secessissenf, reversi sunt ad principcs ac judiccs delegatos, ac 
pronunciarunt guilty, hoc est, dignus est raorte. Ac mox per Dn. Caucella- 
rium lata est sententia juxta tenorem novas constitution is. 

His ita peractis Thomas Morus hunc in modum orsusest loqui: ' Age, quan- 
do sum conderanatus, quo jure Deus novit, ad exonerandam conscientiam volo 
liberius eloqui quod sentio de vestra constitutione. Primum illud dico, me 
septem annis intendisse animum studiumque meum in istam causam, verum 
hactenus in nuUo doctorum ab ecclciia probatorum repcri scriptum, quod lai- 
VOL. I. S S 


cu», aut ut vocant, sccularis, possit aut dcljcat esse caput status spiritualis aut 
ecclesiastici.' Hie canc«;llarius intcrrumpens Mori sermouem, Dominc More, 
inquit, itanc tu vis haberi sapicntior, nieliorisquc conscicntia: omnibus episco- 
pis, tota nobilitate, toto denique regno ? Ail qnx Morus : Dominc, inquit, 
Cancellarie, pro uno episcopo qucni iiabcs tux opiniouis, ego sanctos ct ortbo- 
(loxos viros liabeo plurcs centum, mecum sentientes, et pro unico vestro con- 
cilio, quod tale sit Deus novit, pro nie habeo omnia concilia generalia annis 
;ibbinc luiilc celebrata : et pro uno regno, babeo Franciam cseteraquc orbis 
cbristiani regna omnia. Hie Dux Nortfokii interpelians : Nunc More, inquit> 
pcrspicuc liquet tua malevolcntia. 

Ad qu2 Morus : Mii/ Lord, (sic Angli compellant insigni dignilate prx- 
stantes) ut hoc loquar non incitat nialevolentia, sed cogit necessitas ad exoner- 
andam conscientiam meam, teste Deo, qui solus scrutatur corda hominum. 
Prxtcrea dico et illud, constitutionem vestram esse, pcrpcram factam, eo quod 
V()> professi estis, ct jurcjurando vosmetipsos obstrinxistis, nihil unquam moli- 
turos adversus sanctum ccclesiam, qux per universam ditionem christianam 
unica est, Integra et individua, neque vos soli ullam habctis anctoritalera citra 
aliorum christianorum consensum condendi legem, aut instiluendi concilium 
adversus unionem et concordiam christianitatis. IVec rae fugit, qnamobrcm a 
vobis condcmnatus sim, videlicet ob id, quod nunquara voluerim assent ire in 
negotio novi matrimonii regis. Confido autem de divina bonitale ac niiseri- 
cordia, fore ut quemadmodum olim Paulus Steplianum pcrsecutus est usque ad 
mortem, et tamen iidera nunc unaninies sunt in coelo, ita nos qui nunc dis- 
cordes sunius in hoc mundo, iu future seculo paritcr simus Concordes, et per- 
fecta charitate unanimes. Hac spc frctus precor Deuiu ut vos scrvet una cum 
rege, cique dare dignetur bouos cousultores ! 

His ita pcractis, Thomas Morus reductus est in Turrim. Hie obiter accidit 
spectaculum ipsa condemnatione miserabilius. Margareta filiarum Mori natu 
maxima, mulier prxter cximiam formae venustatem cum surama dignitate cou- 
junctam, judiclp, ingenio, moribus et eruditione patris simillinia, per mediam 
populi turbam, pcrque satclUluin n.rma semet injecit, ct ad parentcra peuctravit. 
Quuui et mulier esset, et natura cumprimis verccuuda, tamen et metum et 
pvidorera omtiem excusscrat impoicns animi dolor, cum audisset patrem in 

APPEND X. 51b 

curia morti addictum esse. Hoc accidit priusquam Morus arcis portam in- 
gredcretur. Ibi in carissimi parentis collurn irrucns, arctissimo complexu ali- 
quandiu tcnuit eum. Cseteruin ne verbuni quidem ijiterim potuit proloqui. 
Cur^e, inquit tragicus, Icves loquuntui, ingentes stupent. Movit stipatores, 
tameisi duros, boo spectaculum. Horum i(aque permissu Morus his verbis 
consolatus est filiam : Margareta, patienter feras, nee te discrucies amplius ; 
sic est voluntas Dei; jampridem nosti secreta cordis mei : simulque dedit 
osculum ex consuetudine gentis, si quern dimittunt. At ilia cum digressa esset 
ad decern vel duodecim passus, denuo rccurrit, et amplexa parentcm rursus in- 
lixsit collo illius, sed elinguis prse doloris magnitudine. Cui pater nihil lo- 
quutus est, tantuni erumpebant lacrjmae, vultu taraen a constantia nihil di- 
moto. Ncc aliud supremis verbis raandavit, quam ut Deum pro aiiima patris 
deprecaretur. Ad hoc pietatis certamen plurimis e popular! turba lacrynijc 
excidere. Erant et inter satellites, ferura et immite genus hominuni, qui la- 
crymas tenere non potuerunt. Nee mirum, quum pietatis afFectus adeo valida 
res sit, ut immitissimas etiam feras raoveat. Hie apud se quisque rcputet 
quam valido ariete turn pulsatum sit Thorns Mori pectus. Erat cnim erga 
suos omnes adeo (piAoVo^fos, ut non alius magis : sed earn filiam ut erat eximiis 
praedita dotibus, ita diligebat impcnsius. Morum fortiter cxccpisse sententiam 
mortis, aut etiam carnificis securim, minus admirandum existimo, quam pij- 
tatcm erga suos potuisse vincere. Nihil enim addubito, quin hie doloris gla- 
dius crudelius vulneravit Mori prseordia, quam ilia carnificis securis, quw 
collum amputavit< 

Die Mcrcurli scquente, hoc est septimo die Julii, productus est in planiciem, 
qu^ est ante arccm. Mos est illic ut afficicndi supplicio, de ponte plebem al- 
loquantur. At Morus paucissimis verbis est usus, tantum orans qui aderant, 
ut pro ipso Deum orarent in hoc mundo, se vicissim in altero mundo precaturum 
pro ipsis. Mox hortabatur atquc instanter rogabat, orarent Deum pro rage, 
ut illi dignaretur impertire bonum consilium, contestans se mori fidelem ac 
bonum regis ministrum, ac Dei inprimis. Uxc loquutus prompte constanti- 
que vultu flexis genibus cervicem posuit securim exeepturus, non sine gravi 
multorum gemitu. Erat enim bonis omnibus carissiraus. 

Quae hactenus narravi, fere continebantur in scbeda apud Parisios jactata, 

Ss 2 

.516 Ari'KNDlX. 

:tc yxr inanus honiiaum vuUtaiUe. Quisqtiis au(om sciipsil, videtur ac(u> iii- 
(crfuissc. Qux deinccps refeiam, pardm ex amicoriiiu Uteris, partini e riiino- 
libus arco]ii. I'aucis ante ilicbus, li. c. XV. t'al. Julias Joatiiu's Fi>c)icrus, 
cpiscoptis liulloiisiii, qui tuin vitx sancliiiiuiiia alque au:>(ci'ilali*, (uni aiimi- 
iiistraiulLs sacramcntis, turn assiJuitato docciuii voce siinul et sciiplis, deniqiic 
mira libcralilatc in egcnos, bciiignitate in studiuiius, vcruQi a^cbat cpi'icu]mni, 
ex urcc dicia in qua captivo:} (enebatur, pruductus est, ct ad curiam, qua: ut 
ante dixi, Wcstmonastcrio proxima est, fre(|uciili sati-llituin arinntorum sti- 
patu jierduclus est, partiin navigio, parliiii cqiio, ob corjjusculi dcbilitatcm, 
quam prxter xtalem auxerat carccris iricommodilas ; licet ipse valetudincin 
suam semper ct jejuniis ct vigiliis ct studiis et laburibus ac lacryinis vebemcntcr 
altenuasset. Jllc vero taroetsi non igiioraret ejus co^iiitiunis cuitum, nihil ta< 
men porturbatus est, sed i^acido, ac prope ctiam ad bilaritatcm composito 
vultu ad tribunal evocantil)US paruit. Ibi juxfa niorem ejus rogionis qui-ni antea 
descripsi, sentcnlia capitali daranatus est, sujjplicium daturas, simulatque rcgi 
visum csset. Hoc adjectum suspicor, si forte spc veniae ac supplicii nielu 
j)osset a sententia deduci. Mortis genus oral ct fxdnm et Lorribile, quo tamen 
fuerant aflTecti Cartnsiani aliquot, quos aiunt fuisse quindecim : quod ut crc- 
(lim vix possum adduci. Carlusianis adjunctus est Keginaldus monaclius Bri- 
gitlcnsis, vir aiigelico vnllu ct anselico spiritu, sanique judicii : quod ex illius 
coUuquio comperi, quum in comitatu Cardinalis Campegii versarer in Anglia. 
Nam Cartusianorum novi neminem. Aiunt ex his quosdam fuisse jjer viam 
tractos, dein suspensos laqueo, ac spirantibus eliamnum exsccta iiitcstina-s 
quosdam eliam exusfos igni, sed omnium incrcilihilcm fuisse constantiam. 
Solet rumor rebus tristibus aliquid addere. At si liic vcrus et, vidctur Jioc 
esse consilium eorum qui rcgio obsecundant aainio, ut immanitate suppliciorum 
cxteros absterrcant. Nam facile divinabant, instituluin plurimis improbatum 
iri, prxsertim ccclesiaslicis, ct rcligioiiis studio deditis. Sed ad Roffensem epis- 
copura rcdco. 

Is accepta tam horrendac mortis scntcntia, quum satcllilibus stipatus rcducc- 
relur in arcem, ut ad ostium ventum est, versus ad satellites hilari placidoquc 
vultu, Plurimam, inquit, optimi viri, vobis babco gratiam ))ro officio, quo 
me euntcm et redeuntem deduxistis. Dixisses homiiicm ex Lilari suavique rc- 
dire convivio, adco et color crat jticuiidior, ct ipse toto corporis gostu, quatenus 


]jcr gravitatein licuit, Ixtitiam quaiidara prx se furebat, ut neoiiiii non essct 
pcrspicuum, sarictissimum virum, ecu portui vicinum, toto pectore ad 
illara bcatam (ranquillitatem aspirate. Ncc din dilata est mors. Ad decimum 
Cal. Julii producfus in planicieni, quani Angli vulgo dicunt furris coUera, 
vultu non solum conslanti, verum uliara alacri, paucis alloquutus est populum. 
Primum regi regnoque bene precatus est. Mox ardcnti magis quam prolixa 
precatione seipsum Dei misericordiae commendavit : simuJque procurabens ia 
genua, gracili et exliausta ccrvice securim excepit. Ntquc enim apud Anglos 
carnifices gladio cervicem inciduut, sed damnato in truncum ad id apparatum 
inclinaiiti, securi caput amputant. Quaiito cum animi dolore viderint iioc 
sjjectaculiun quibus religio pietasque cordi est, et qui Ciirisli spiritura in pas- 
tore operantem expcrti fucrant, facile quivis ex scse potcrit aestimare. Cxte- 
rum quod mitiore poena affectus est, quam minabatur judicum sententia, sunt 
qui in causa fuisse putent, quod nietucrint, tic scncx ct exhausto corpusculo, 
si per viam tarn longam rlicda Iralieavc tractus fuisset, sponte cxpirareU Ego 
suspicor, ob hoc mortis genus atrocius denuntiatum, ut iumianitate supplicii 
Jerritus mufaret scntentiani. JVec desunt qui praedicant, ob hoc ipsum acce- 
leratam mortem, quod Romanus pontifex Paulus tertius episcopura Koflcusera 
ob iiisignem doctrinam ac pirtatem in cardinaliilm ordincm allegissct.- Ex ami- 
corum literis cognovi, in Germania inferiore sparsum rumorcin, quura cpiscopi 
Koffenhis caput csset in pontc Londoniensi de more exposilum, non solum non 
cmarcuisse, verum ctiam magis effloruisse, vivoque factum similius, ut multi 
crederent fore, ut etiam loqui inci[)cret : quod in quibusdam niartyribus fac- 
tum legimtR. iJa res, seu fama, quum vulgo increbuisset, sublatuni est at- 
qne abditum. Populus enim credulus txpe icvi quupiam occasione turbas in- 
gentcs excitat. At veriti ne idem cvcnirct in oapitc IMori, pnusquam exponc- 
letur, aqua fervenli decoctum est, quo plus habcret horroris. Usee aliaque 
multa his similia pcxscribuntur e Flaiidria liritannis viciriiore : penes alios sit 
fides. Utinam hue jjervu'nissent acta Hoffensis, qucniadmodum acta Mori 
pcrvenerunl. E\ Mori responsis facile liquet, ilium ikstmasse mori citius, 
quam sua; seutentix canere palinodiam. Quo animo videntur omucs fuisse qui 
ante Morum cxtincti sunt. 

Morum ac Rofiensem ct ilhid movit, opinor, quod qui bene natos, laute 
cducatos, in honore babitos, in carecre dednct, non dat vitam, sed longiorem 


ct accrbiorcm mortem. Ego si regi ftiisscm in consilio, pro mca stultitia cona- 
tus fuisscm illi pcrsuadcrc, ut pro sua solita cIcmciUia cx(crisquc virtutibiis, per 
quas nomcii ipsius linctcnus erat apud omncs nationos o;ratio!>um et amabile, ab 
iliis Oritannise luminibus, (otiqiic orbi notis abstiiicrd, aut ccrte pa?na mi(iore 
coiileiitus cssi-t. Rursus, si qui pcrieruiit me adiiibuissciit in consilium, sua- 
sisscm, nc se irruenti procella; paiain opponerent. Violenta res ira regum, cui 
si incommode resistas, graviorcs cxcitat lumultus. Equi feroces, quemadmo- 
dum ct tonitrua, iion vi scd popysmate Icniuntur. £t nautse non pugnant ad- 
versus impotentem temjx'statcm, sed vel quictc vcl obliquis cursibus utentes 
expectant coilum commodius. Multis rebus medetur tempus, quas nulla vi 
possis eniendare. Res humans semper quidem fluctuant, sed quoties incidit 
insignis aut fatalis rerum mutatio, midti pcriclitantur qui non cedunt turbini. 
Veluti quum Julius Caesar aperiret januam tyrannidi, et triumviri junctis copiis 
imperiurn orbis occiiparent, laudatissimi qniquc viri jierierunt, quorum erat 
I't JVI. TuUius. Qui monarchis serviunl, iis quxdam dissimulanda sunt, ut si 
jion qneant obtinere quod judicaverunt optimum, saltern aliqua ex parte mo- 
derentur principum aflectus. Dixerit aliquis, pro veritate mortem oppeten- 
dam. At non pro quavis veritate. Si tyrannusjubeat, aut abjura Christum, 
aut pone cervicem : ponenda cervix. Sed aliud est silere, aliud abjurarc. Si 
fas est tc dissimularc chiistianum cifra grave scandalum, raulto magis licuisset 
hie esse taciturn. 

.Sed ineple facio, qui de rebus tam arduis disputem, qui nunquam inter- 
fucrim monarcbarum consiliis. Itaque de tola causa judicium aliis relinquo. 
Illud satis constat, eos viros si quid j eccarint, nulla in regem malevolentia 
pcccasse, sed simplici sinccraquc conscientia ernisse. Hoc sibi jicnitus per- 
suascrant, hoc mcduUis intixum habebnnt, sanctum, pium, regi honoriticum, 
ren-no salutare esse quod tuebantur. Arguinonto est, quod nullus illorum af- 
fectarit regnum, aut alteri asserere conatus sit, nee uUam molitus sit seditionem, 
aut ullas conlraxcrit copias, ac nc vcrbum quidem excidit odium conspira- 
tionemve rcsipiens. Silen- cupiebant si licuiss< t, sed jiatienter ac placide mor- 
tem exceperunt, nihil aliud quam regi regnoque bene prtcantes. At in atro- 
cibus etiam criminlbus magnam cuipx partem excusat simplex ac pura con- 
scientia, animusque non Ledendi, sed bene raerendi cupidus. Turn apud 
efleras etiam nationcs frequenter cximix virtuti prxstantiquc doctrinae honos 


est habitus. Plafoni apud Aci^inelas juxta civKatis conslitutioncm capite plec- 
tendo, profuit philosoplii cognomen. Diogenes impune penetravit in castra 
Philippi regis Macedonum, ad quein pro expioratorc adductus, libera expro- 
bravit regi insaniam, quod non contentus suo regno, semet conjiceret in peri- 
culum ne perderet omnia. Non impune tanfura, scd cliam cum muncrc di- 
missus est, non ob aliud nisi quod esset philosophus. Qucmadmodum rao- 
narcharum in eruditos benignitas pluritnum honcsti nomiiiis iilis conciiiat, i(a 
durius tractati plurimum invidiae eonflant illis. De liis pra^cipue loquor, qui 
scriptis inclaruerunt apud omnes nationes, et quorum memoria videtur apnd 
postcros futura gratiosa. Quis nunc non execralur Antonium, qui Ciceroneni 
ferro peremit ? Quis non detcstatur Ncronem, qui Scnecam occiderit ? Ncc 
minimum gratis decessit Oclavii Cajsaris nomirii, quod Ovidium ad Getas re- 

Uxc nequaquam eo milii dicuntur, ut regera cliristianum cum impiis prin- 
cipibus confcram, aut de negotio cujus circumstantias non novi pronuntiem, 
quod etiamsi periculum abcsset, temcrariuin csset : sed ut ostendam quibus 
rationibns fuerim conaturus persuadere, ut rex parceudo viris pietatis et erudi- 
tionis commendationejam immortalitati cotisecratis, suo quoque nomini con- 
suleret. Plausibilis semper est praepotentum dementia : sed turn clarissimos 
fort applausus, qiioties viris illustribus ac dc rrpublica bene meritis impeudifur. 
Omne solum forti patria est: et exilium fortibus ac pfaclaris viris ssepe cessit 
feiiciter. Mortis invidia gravis est. Quum rex Galiiarum Ludovicus Xlf, 
regnum adcptus pararet divortium cum Lodovici regis XJ, filia, Maria, ni 
fallor, nomine, res displicuit quibusdam bonis; ex quibus Johannes Slandocli, 
et hujus discipulus Thomas, in concione nihil aliud dixerant, nisi Deum oran- 
dum esse ut regi inspirarct boniim coiisiliutn. Qnx apud populum dicuntur, 
ad seditionem spectaiit : et lii deliqucrant advcrsus regis cdictum. Rex tamen 
nihil aliud quam vertere solum jussit, nee qiiicquam aderait faculta(um : at 
idem negotio quod agcbat confccto, revocabat eos. irric moderatione rex ille 
et suo consuiuit institute, et gravem invidiam cvilavit, quod uterque csset 
theologus, uterqu&saiictilatis opinione commcndatus. 

At Thomac Mori mortem dcplorant et ii, quorum institufo pro viribus ad- 
versabatur; tantus erat hominis in cranes candor, lauta comitas, tanlaquc 

3^0. .\PPi:\DlX. 

beiiignilas. Qumi illc \\\ mc(li<>criler eni.Iiluin ab se diiuiait iiulonaliim ." 
Ant qiiis fiiit Jam alicnus, ilc q<io iidii stiiduoiit bcno lUTcri ? MaUI n.m tUvcnt 
nisi siiis, Cialli Giillis, G "rmaiii Gerni;jtiis, .Sco(i Scolis ; at ille in Ilibcrnos, 
\n Cicrmanos, in CJiUos, in Soytlias cl (ados aiuico fuil aiiimo. naliirx 
bniiijiiitas sic IMoriim dinniuin aiiirais ijcnitiis iiifixif, lit iioii sfcus ac paiviitcm 
nut fratrcm plorcnt cxtincliini. Iq'sc vidi inuUoriim lacryinuK, qui iicc vidcraiit 
Moriim, nee ullo oflicio ab co fucratit alll-cli : ac mllii qiioquc tlinn lixc sciibo, 
iiolcnli ac rcpiignarili iacrynia; prosiliuiit. Quamodo nunc afl'cctura cro'liiiius 
Eiasmii.n nostrum, ciii cum Moro (:im .arcia iuit aaiicilia, ut prorsus, jiixtu 
I'jthagoram, in diiobus e:idem vidcri'tiir aiiiina? lAjiiidciu iiiiscre mcliia, 
no bonus illo sencx suo Moro commoruitur, si lamcii udliuc in vivis est. Sunt 
qui nos consolantur boc argumciito, quod dicuiil, lioii dcplorandos esse, sed 
• gratiilauibim potius lis, qui tali mortc vitam /inicrunt. Est istud, fateor, noa 
love doloris Ion imen : at ego i\lorum optarim intolumcm, quum omnium stu- 
diosorum gratiu, fiiin vcro pi.tcipiie taniilia? causa, quam ct numerosam et 
plane philosopliicam rcliquit : (Ilium natu miniuiurn jam maritum ac libero- 
rum parentcm, filias (res, et lias nuptas ac libcroruni matres, cruditas omnes, 
ac sub paterna disciplina ad chrLstianain pbilosopliiam pulclirc institutas, uxo- 
rcm fidelcm, ac jam anum, ex qua lamen nullam prolem sustulit. ITas omncs 
cum spoMsis, nepolibus ac nrptibus in unis a'dibusakbaf, tanta rcligionc, lau- 
(aq'.ie concordia, quan(am uou (cmcre repcrias in collegiis monacboruni ac vir- 
ginum. Hie niibi cogita, vir op(ime, qui luc(us, quae lacrymae, qui gcmi(us, 
qui dolorcs totam ilLam (limiliam confidant. Quot egregias animas vulneravit 
ilia securis, quae Mori caput amputavit ? mulli demirantes rogant, quid tanli 
sccleris commiserit vir semper habitus innoceiitissimis moribus ? Quibus vix 
liabco quod pro comperto respondeam, nisi quod parliin conjicere licet ex arli- 
culis "Moro objectis et ill ius rcsponsionc, partira ex amicorum Uteris ac fama 
vulgata discere datur. 

Rex, ut omnibus notissimum est, aliquot annis moliebatur rcpudium cum 
regina Caroli Cxsaris matcrlcra, Morus prxsagicns quo res cssct cvasura, ultro 
deposuit canccliarii munus, alia quxdain causatus, ne cogeretur ejus negotii 
exequutor esse, quod apnd sese non probabat. Erat enim mentis tam religiosae, 
ut propior esset superstitioni quara impietati. Sic cogitabat ; privato licebit 
quiescere : canccUario, qui os est regis, non licebit. Videbat fore, ut cogcrc- 


tur multos coiidemnare morte, quos judicabat oplimos : ad hxc exitum tanti 
ncgotii incertuni esse, ob ccclesiasticoruin poteiitiam ac gentis ilUus solitam in 
reges ferociam. Tale si quid natum fuisset, prima victima fuisset cancellarius. 
At me si Morus in consilium adhibuisset, quum asset tarn anxie religiosa con- 
scieiitia, dehortatus fuissem eum ne susciperet dignitatem. Vix cnim fieri po- 
test, ut qui in arduis principiim functionibus versantur, in magnis pariter ac 
parvis jiistitiam ad unguem observent. Proinde milii gratulantibus quod talem 
haberem amicum ia tanto rcrum fastigio coUocatum, respondete soleo, me non 
prius illi de ejus dignitatis accessione gratulaturum quam juberet ipse. Jam 
turn enim nescio quid sinistri praesagiebat animus. Nee regem arbitror latuisse, 
quam ob causiim Morus dcponeret magistratum, itcunque dissimulavit : quod 
Homerus indicat, monarchis esse proprium, offcnsionem in aaimo tegere, donee 
multo post tempore detur ulciscendi opportuuitas. 

Interim rex minis ac fulminibus Clementis VII factus irritatior, adjecit ani- 
mum ad vetus illius regionis excmplum, ut regnum a jure pontificis Romani 
assereret, et utriusque status suprcmam potestatem sibi viiidicaret. Caiterum 
quum senfiret, plurimorum aninios ab hoc instituto abhorere, ue qua coorirc- 
tur seditio, promulgatum est edictum, ut quicuiiqiie non abjuraret Romani 
pontificis autoritatem, aut improbaret novum matrimonium, capitalis tssef. 
Verum hoc edictum non est promulgatum, nisi Roifcnse ct Moro jam ductis in 
custodiam. Roll'ensis semper plurimum tribuit sedi iiomauae, et ail versus re- 
pudium libris etiam conscriptis pugnarat, sed turn quum adhuc integrum esset 
consulere. Morus scripsit nihil, sid pro oHicio quod gcrebat, conabatur regis 
animum in earn inflectere sentcntiam, quam putabat et Deo gratam, et regi 
tutam, et regno salutarem. 

Erat illi magna familiarifas cum episcopo Roffense ; turn praediuni quod ha- 
bebat Morus non procul abtrat a Richemonda. Ibi regio palatio vicina sunt 
duo monasteria vehementer opulcnta, ct quod majus esl, bona: disciphnie, al- 
terum Cartusianorum, alterum Brigittensiura. Ab his facile credidcrim solli- 
citatum Mori animum, ut ecclesiai causam tueretur : at ipsum aliquid efFutisse 
quod rebellionem saperet, nuiiqiiam sum credilurus, ut qui ex crebris colloquiis 
perspexerim admirabilcm quaudam hominis cautionem. Ecquidcm vix alium 

Vol. I. T t 


Anglum comperj, qui fam racduUitus amarit priiicipem suum, aut magU ex 
animo bene vcllcf, qtiam iUc. 

Unde igitur Lie tumultus? Violenta res est, conscicntia magis mctucns Deum 
offciKlcre, quiuu mortem oppetcre. Forte fcfcllit eum pcrsuasio. At demiror 
si vir ille levibus argumentis adductus e^t, ut sic obfirmaret animum. Maluit 
ipse perpeli, quam in alios facere, quod necesse fuisset, si in suscepto munerc 
perse verassct. Quin et rcgins veteris, singulari pietate foemince multos miseret, 
non lantum ob id, quod dudum tanta dignitate florens, nunc in eum statum 
ledacta est, ut ob divortium nee eo frui possit quicum lam diu vixit, ncc al- 
Icri nubere ob Clemenlis sentcntiam : verum ctiam quotl vidct, non dubium 
quin cum summo animi dolore, ipsius causa tales viros trucidari. IIuJus porro 
tragocdiai quis sit futurus exitus, Deus novit. Jllud in confesso est, per necem 
beali Tbomx Acrensis, plurimum ct auctoritatis et opum accessisse statui cccle- 
siastico apud Anglos. Qui res mortalium suo imperscrutabili consilio mo- 
deratur, pro sua bonitatc dignabitur brcc omnia vcrtere in snam gloriam. 
Tantum e scheda, rumoribus et amicorum Uteris, hacfcnus licuit cognoscerc : 
si comperliora fuero nactus, tibi coramunicabo. Tu fac vicissim ut per te scia- 
mus quid agat rex Sion cum suis prophclis, populoquc retincto, dc quibus 
hie mira Ibruntur, an vera nescio. Apud Lutetiam Parisiorum X. Cal. Au- 
susti Ann. m.u.xxxv. 




Est virtutis amans, cui nulla scieatia cordi est : 

Sunt Uteris clari, quos virtus nan tamea ornat : 

Est qui ulrumque tenet, tractare at publica nescit 

Munera ; sunt haec qui feliciter omnia possunt. 

Sed quibus infauste res tota domestica currit : 

Invenias alium, cui sint hxc omnia, at idem est 

Moribus insuavb, severus, durus, agrestis : 

Hie sectatur opes, alius conquirit honores, 

Et maculat multas hoc uno crimine laudes: 

Et qui haec cuncta tenet, vitio quoque purus ab omni, 

Sed moriens latet, atque obscura morte quiescit. 

Unus erat Morus, nuUi (1) pietate secundus, 

Ingenio, (2) literis clarus ; qui (3) munera gessit 

Maxima : qui (4) contemtor opum, (5) contemtor honorum, 

(6) Familiam et proles rara virtute gubemat. 

(7) Candidus et suavis, regi populoque jucundus. 

(8) Martyrio illustris concludit cuncta beatus. 
Virtutum I'uit haec encjclopaedia Mori. 


Vis scire in literis, quis, et quid esset 
Thomas ille Morus, decus suorum ? 



Orator fuit clogans, discrtus : 
Festi/iis fuit ct pocta suavLs. 
Non Gra;cum sccus ac Latiiia callens. 
Nee callct moJo ; sed tuetur ilia, 
Liiigiiartim liaud sccus advocatus accr, 
Quam legum lucrat Bntaiinicarum. 
Scribendae historix arlifex pcritus. 
Res gests satis hoc docent Ricliardi 
Aiiglorum gravis et feri tjranni. 
Quantus philoboplius, doccre possunt 
Leges Utopia? rcccns rcpcrlx. 
In sacris lilcris, patrumque libris 
Quid Morus valuit, probant labores, 
Quos contra hercticos domi forisque 
Scribcndo tulit : hos libris Latinis 
(Sunt testes Pomeranus et Lutherus) 
lllos vernaculis pie rct'ulans. 
Ingens e quibus edidit volumen, 
Anglis fructiferum ; clegans volumen. 
Nee vult dogmatibus vocare solis ; 
Sed per quos pietas, salusque mentis 
Augmentnm capiat, dedit libellos : 
Angli quos avide legunt libellos, 
Nee quicquam utilius legi fatcntur. 
Qui pro dogmatibus legenda scripsit 
Dat pro dogmatibus caput securi. 
Ilic major calamus, liberquc major : 
Ilunc, liunc postcritas librum revolvat. 


More, nee es ISIaurus, quod vox sonat Anglica IVIori, 
Nee fatuus, quod vox attica, ftt^fUy habef. 

Scilicet infausti eorrexil nominis omen 
lit vigor et candor maximus in«:«nii. 



Cur bonus in prima florens, Henn'ce, juventa, 

Impius in (enebris uisima fata trahis? 
Nempe quia extinxti duo luuxima lumiaa regni: 

Roffeusis Phoebus, Cynthia Morus erat. 
Prsefuit ille sacris ; terrennis prsefuit iste. 

Extinctis pereunt sacra, profana simul. 


Dum Morus immeritx submittit colla securi, 

Et flent occasum pignora cara suuiu ; 
Imo ait, infandi vitam deflete tyranni : 

Non moritur, facinus qui grave morte fugit. 


Quis jacet hie truncus ? cujus caput ense recisum est 

Quae natat in tetro sanguine canicies ? 
Hie est ille Thomas Morus. Sic facta rependunt 

Tristia raulta bonis, et bona multa malis. 
Qu3e circumsistunt divx lugubre cadaver ? 

Diva tenax veri : sancta fides : Nemesis. 
Quarum prima fuit causa et fuit altera mortis ; 

Ultrix iojustse tertia caedis erit. 


State viri. Forte hos cineres novisse juvabit. 

Hunc tumulum Morus colla resectus habet 
Ille decus regni quondam et nunc dedeeus AngU, 

Quod tulerat talem, quod modo sustulerit "[ 


llli lit salva foret pictas, pridcm aula rclicla est. 

Salvo lit perdcret vila relicta modo est. 
Fide Thoma. Quantam noUcs, vindicta paraliir. 

Rcgalcsquc tiiis manibus inferix. 


Ad Styga cum Mori venisset flebilis umbra, 

Pallidulum largo sparsa cruore caput ; 
Portilor ingemuit, (rux Cerberus ora reprcssit, 

Pcrseplioric falsis immaduit lacrymis. 
Et, quern rex letlio iiifami damuarat adulter, 

Absolvit St^gii judicis urna rcum. 
Ilium rex Ercbi, pro constanti probitatc, 

Addidit infernis judicibus socium : 
Ca:dis ut authorem ; fuerit cum morfe peremptus, 

Addicat diris suppliciis meritum. 
Virentem intcrea infestet lorva umbra tyrannum 

Semper, et ante oculos sanguinolenta volet. 
Et vos Eumcnides sparsis per coUa colubris, 

Illius ultrices tcndite in ora faces. 


Extinctum flemus crudeli funere Morum 
Et regem immanem, veneremque cruore madcntcm, 
Fortunaeque vices, ct laesae pellicis iram. 
Vos mihi pierides feralia carraina mus» 
Dictate, et mecum vatcm lugete peremtum, 
Insignem cythara ; qui vos persxpe solebat 
Vertice ab Aonio molli deducere versu. 
Tuque adeo mihi, Calliope, quse regia facta, 
Et casus raiseronim hominum cantare perita cs, 
Nee coedcs exhorrescis memorare cruentas. 


Dextera ades, Tu vero crato, tu blanda Tlialia, 
Trimcatnm inlerea tuimilo componite corpus, 
Exequias celebrate, aspcrgite floribus urnam, 
Et tumulo castos aspiret laurus odores, 
Sacrum laurigeri vatis complexa sepulcbrum, 

Te quoque deflerem divuni venerandc sacerdos, 
Roffensis praesiil populi, qui dura subisti 
Fata prior, sancta pro reUigione tu,enda : 
Sed vatem canimus vates ; tua maxima liicta 
Vulgabunt alii, et praeclara volumina condent, 
Attolientque tuura super aurea sidera nomen. 

Tempus erat, mundi cum jam adventante ruina, 
Occideret senio justum, et labefacfa deorum 
Relligio caderet, tot sustentata per annos. 
Mortalesque fidem tota de mente fugassent ; 
At dolus, et fastus, curaque impietate libido- 
Ambitioque, et livor edax, fulvi et sitis auri, 
Grassantes late, qua sol subllmis utrumque 
Aspicit oceanum, geminas quaquc aspicit arctosj 
Miscebantque profana sacris, et sacra profanis. 
Turn furiae ex imis erebi emersere tenebris, 
Sanguineas capitum quatientes undiquc cristas, 
Armatx facibus, phlegetonteoque veneno. 
Nee mora, coeruleos subito pctiere Britannos, 
Fatorum gnarae, tempus namque adfore norant, 
Cum rex Hcnricus despreto conjugis usu. 
In vetitos rueret thalamos famosus adulter, 
Atque alias taedas, alios celebrans Hymcnxos, 
Mentis inops, regni indotatam in parte locaret, 
Vilem animam, et nullo majorum sfemmate fulfam : 
At regina prior, tbalamis ejecta maritis, 
Ingratura in lachr mis et luctu duceret sevum ; 
Ilia quidem magni de sanguine Ferdinandi, 


Primus qui Alauros rcgnis cxcgit avitis, 
Quo nuiiquam Hcspcria rrgnasset major in era, 
Ni sua progenies majori nuniine, Caesar, 
Mundi sccptru teiiens, titulos superasset avorum. 

At postquam dirx subierunt regia tccta 
Eumenides, tremuit (alius, sic conscius jelher 
Ilorruit, Occanus paler, et circumflua Tethys 
Imis delitucre vadis. Rex ipse, maritus 
Jam novus, inprimis et adhuc coniplexibus hscrens, 
Exfimuit facti poeuas, iramquc deorum. 
lUx aut< m ut videre novos celebrari Hymcnacos, 
Gaudebant pariter Dirac, pariterque dolebaat : 
Criminc gaudebant, sed non authoribus ipsis. 
Patratura doluere nefas, niniiumque potcntem 
Et vencrem, et voluc is (ela indignaiitur Amoris. 
Ergo aliud meditanlur opus, dirumquc frementcs, 
Pellicis insinuant atrum in praecordia virus, 
Et stolido rcgi eripiunt raentemque animumque. 

Ele scelus firmare suum majoribus ausis 
Enitens, scelcri scelus adjicil, et conlemptis 
Pontificis summi monitis, (quibus ille jubebat, 
Ejiceret moecham, (iuilamique in jura vocaret 
Legitimam uxorem, solitoque ornaret honore) 
Ipse sibi jus pontificis, nomenque sacratum, 
Quara late sua regna patent, usurpat, et omnem 
Sacrilegus veterem convellit relligionem ; 
Et gravius peccat, ut non peccassc puletur. 

Egregia interea pcllex qux gaudia sentit ? 
In quorum jugulos miserum non armat amautem .' 
Prsecipue, si quos probitas suspecta, et houcsti 
Prodit amor ; More inlelix, sic te tua virtus 


Perdidit ? o £Bvi scelus atquc infaraia nostri. 
Tu regui decus, et regi carissimus idem 
Consultor fueras, nee judex aequior alter 
Jura dabat, qua pensant hcu mcrcede laborem 
Fata tibi ? poteras illxsaiti ducere vitam, 
Sed minus esse probus. Vi(x quam dura rclf-fa 
Coaditio fait insonti ? si vera professiis, 
Fatalena exciperet cana cervice securim : 
Sin vitam falsa vellet ratione tueri, 
Applaudens stupris, infandxque ambitioni, 
Pollueret morcsque suos, vitamque priorcm, 
Otfen&araque hominis, mutaret numinis in;. 

Ille autem justique (enax, cultorqiie deorum, 
Sponte sua ferro caput obtulit, et procumbens 
Purpureum sacro fudit de pcctore rivum. 

Fortunate sencx animi, tibl regia cojli 
Tota patct, tibi rex supeium victricia serta 
Porrigit ipse raanu, magno applaudente senatu 
Coelicolum, et volucres reciimnt poeana ministri. 
Omnes intonsi, niveis in vest ibus omnes ; 
Quales ad vitreum mceandri flunien olores 
Mille volant, plauduntque alis, el dulce cancnles 
Ca3ruleum nitidis prartexunt aitbera pennis. 

Quis tibi turn sensus, mcestissima Margarelta, 
Nata patris miseri ? quanto tua lumina fletu 
Unclabanl ! quanfos, eheu, de p<'ctore anhclo 
Ducebas gemitus, corpus cum flebile patris 
Exaniniuni aspiceres indigna csdc peremti ? 
Nam te credibile efit, quanquam patris inclyla facta 
jT:U'rnam tibi conciliant femamqne decnsque, 
Non potuisse oculos compesccre tempore in illo, 
Vol. I. U 11 


Quill durum Acres casum, patrisque cruorein 
Ablueres lacrymis, et circunifusa cadaver 
Osculu pallidulo ferres moribunda paieiiti. 
Tu (amen has aufcr tenero de pectorc curas, 
Nee lacrymis corriimpc tuos, pulclicrriin;i, vultus. 
Sic tc Plicebus amet, sic, 6 doctissima virgo, 
Adjiciat iiumcro te Calliopcia sororum. 

Interea truncutn jacet et sine nomine corpus, 
Spectaculum populo dirum : at polluta cruore 
Canicics, ne quid sceleris restaret inausuni, 
Ncu tantos xtas ncscirct sera furores, 
Pra?(ixa infanii spectanda exponitur Iiasta : 
Deformata tameu primum ferventibus undis, 
Duceret informcs donee cutis aspera rugas, 
Labraque in horrendos tralierentur luridu rictus : 
Nc, quod Roflensi acciderat, sufl'usa ruborc 
Mortua vilaiem prceferrent ora calorem : 
Turbarentque pium rursus miracula vulgus. 

f Hocne tuse veneri, rex 6 inceste, tropxum 
Erigis ? et mollem placari sanguine divam 
Posse pufas ? iras in te convertet acerbas 
Ipsa Venus, vindexque tuos subvertet amores : 
Atque aliis iteruni, atque aliis tua pectora flammis 
Uret, ut infamis veniant tibi tietlia vilae. 
Tunc, raeraor indignx caedis, tua noxia facta 
Flebis, et invisa sumcs de pcllice poenas. 

Peliseus juvcnis furiisagitatus, et ira 
Incandens, multoquc animum infiammatus iaccho, 
Dilectum ante alios inter convivia Ciitum 
Transfodit ferro, et resparsit sanguine mensas : 
At postquam furor ille animi discussus, et oranis 
Consumptus vini vapor est, mcutemque rcccpit, 


Ipse manus inferre sibi, sociumque per umbras 
Vellc sequi, et miseros incassuin fundere qucstus. 
Trcsque adeo moeslus soles, totidem quoqiie nocles 
Exegit lacrymans, luctu confiisus acerbo 
Ne quicquam ; ncque criim lucfu revocanfur acerbo 
Pullentes aniraae, quns per vada laiiguida vexit 
PortUor, atqiie avido trajectos tradidit orco. 
Tu quoque dilectum frus(ra plorabis amicum, 
Cum tibi discusso mens pura redibit amorc. 
Iiitcrca boirifica rurapet tua somnia forma 
Umbra viri, muKoque caput foedata cruore^ 
Quo te cunque feres dira occursabit imago, 
Supplicium ssevis exposcens horrida faclis. 
Namque tuis donee regnis exutus, et exul, 
Extrcmam implorabis opcm rcrum omnium egenus, 
j\Iorus inuUus erit. Nulla est violentia longa : 
O indictaeque moram poena graviore rependunt 
Numina, justitiara quorum baud effugerit ulius- 

At nos sternum tua tristia funera, More,^ 
Insolabiliter deflebimus ; 6 bone vates, 
Tu mortem sancta pro relligione subisti 
Crudelem. Tibi divinos pro talibus ausis 
Mortales debent cuitus, (ibi templa, (ibi aras. 
yEternnm, venerande senex, salvcque, valeque, 
Seu colis El^-sium, seu coeli lucida templa ; 
Accipe et bunc nostrum non dura fronte laborcm. 


Henricus Morum gladio jugulavit iniquo ; 

Tam dignum vita, quam fuit ipse nece. 
Mortuus ille tamen vivet per secula cuncta, 

Post mortem virtus vivcrc sola facif. 

Uu 2 



Quid tibi cum Moro, <ali irulignissima cive 

Anglia ? quid pergis dict-rc iiiepta tuum ? 
Tu ferro insontem, iiec simplicc inorte, Catonem 

Persequeris : tuto nee licet esse pium. 
Proinde sile. Nam quo maculam tibi deraeret istara, 

Ipse sibi patriam condidit Utopiam. 


Quod capiti quondam Ciceronis rostra fuerc, 

Hoc est pons capiti, More diserte, tuo. 
Oucentes Angli suspiria pcctore dicunt : 

Doctior et melior nullus in orljc fuit. 


Hie situs est Thomas Morus, tuus, Anglia, vatcs> 

Turba Poetarum quern cecidisse gemit. 
Dum regum docte metuendos aduionet enses, 

ilium caruificis rex jubet ense mori. 
Ilium amor et cbaritcs dcfleiit, dcflentque Camoenx : 

Nee damnum credit, qui sapit, esse leve. 
Gallia quid possit, testisque Britannia ; testis 

Italia, et semper Grscia testis erit. 


Quae fuit integritas, qux vis, qux copia fandi, 
Quae mens, JNlore, tibi, sat tua scripta docent. 

^ui Cbristi fuerit transAxum pectus amore, 
Tradita tcstantur sat tua membra necu 


Scilicet ut rairis vixisti dofibus auctus, 

Te decuit miro pectore, More, mori. 
Vita tibi fucrat feiix ; feiicior at mors, 

^tcrno vitam munere quae peperit. 
Ordo tuus per te micat uno lumine : sed sunt 

Instar multorum luraina multa virum. 



Quin etiam partes vulgato codice nostras 

Propugnat scripfor maximus Utopix. 
Fcssus ad authoris melius te scripta remitto ; 

Rarus in orbe liber ; nee tamea Utopiae est. 
lUius similes, imo multo meliores 

Invenies libros, lector ; at Utopis. 
Et Mori similes, imo multo meliores 

Scriptores vidcas, lector; at Utopiae. 


Quis vivente velit Thoma non vivere Moro ? 
Quis Moro nolit sic moxiente mori ? 


Mortuus an Morus, qui sic in mortis agone 

Vixerat, ut mors sit victa coacta mori ? 
Imo piis morum meritis nunc vivit et orbi. 

£t pura mentis relligione Deo. 


EfEgiem quamcunque tui sic fingimus ; at non 
Tam facile est mores fingcrc, More, tuos. 


Quam vcllem pictor milii tain pcrfcctus adcsset, 

Pingere qui vcrc posset utramqiic simul. 
Turn quoqiic qui vilain totam mori-squc rcferrct, 

Ille magis inulto doctus Appellc foret. • •' f-ii:- - 


Ergo quid ? ad nostros siculi venere tyranni ? ^■<. 

An terris nostris Africa monstra dedit ? 
Nam furit Lie Gotthus, dum Symmaclius afque Joannes 

Aniiltiint carum luortc fureiitc caput ! 
Dum jacct Albinus, dumque urbc Hoetius alma 

Expulsus Ticini tristia fata gemit ? 
Sjevit Alexander Magnus ? Clitumquc fidcloin 

Enecat ? et vitam Parmcnionis bahet ? 
An Nero sanguineus nostris dominatur in oris, 

At que tibi vitam, Senncca docle, rapit? 
Hoc facit Ilcnricus quod tunc Nero pcssimus cgif, 

Dum te, More, nccat, dum tua colla sccat. 
Senneca niorte perit, quia vult Nero ; tu qnoque More, 

Dum vult Hcnricus, spicula mortis habes. 
Arbitrium pro lege fuit, quod Senneca luxit ; 

Arbitrium, quod te, More, perire facit. 
Ut non est mirum, si sic Nero tollat amicum, 

Qui matrem fato sustulit ante suam ; 
Sic non est mirum, si rex te. More, nccarct, 

Qui Icrus in matrem saeviit ante suam. 
Non mirum est, aliis si vipera sxva nocerct, 

Cum propria malri vipera sreva nocet. 
Ilenrici mater sancta est cccle&ia Christi, 

Hanc prius afllixit, quam tibi. More, nocet. 
Et quia communem nolles pessundare matrem, 

Fata sub innniti rcgc cruenta subis. 
Quod genus hoc monstri ? cur sic rex barbare, frendis ? 

An, quia vult matri parccre, Morus obit ? 


Non licet iiigenuis nalis dcfcndcre raatrcm r 
Aa scelus est veram non violare lidem ? 
Scilicet Henrico placuit proportio prava : 

Non parcit membro, dum premit illc caput. 
Qui graviora patrat, non illc minora tinicbit, 

Et scelus audaces ad mala plura facit. 
Culpa trahit culpam : comitatur abyssus abjssum : 

Poena est peccati pessima culpa sequens. 
Cum rex legitimse fecit divortia sponsse, 

Venit et ad thalamos Anna Bolena suos ; 
Cum rex Volssum rerum de cardine movit, 

Fecit et afflicta sorte perire virum ; 
Cum rex schisma novum deformi crimine fecit, 

Sedis apostolicse debita jura negans ; 
Cum rex pontificem prsescripsit, j usque papalc, 

Non passus libros nomen habere papx ; 
Cum rex in sacris voluit caput esse supreraum, 

Assumsitque sibi pontificale decus ; 
Cum rex lege nova sacratas diruit sedes, 

Solvit et c claustris quos pia vota ligant ; 
Cum rex divorum spolians opulenta sepulcbra, 

Lusit imaginibus, diva Maria, tuis ; 
Cum rex damnavit clerum de crimine falso, 

Presbyteros mulctans pontificesque suos ; 
Cum rex omne malum fecit : tunc, More, necaris : 

Horrebas oculis tanta videre mala. 
Virtus sic Moro placuit, quod vivere nollct. 

Si non virtuti vivere posse detur. 
Dum pietas floret, floret quoque Morus ; at ilia 

Quam primum coepit spreta jacere, jacet. 
Rex plus in sumniis bunc pro pictate locavit, 

Impius afflictum pro pietate necat. 
Moro vita fides. Nam dum manet ilia, manebat, 

Stante fide stabat : qua percunte perit. 
Vita sibi pietas : pictate cadcute cadebat, 


Quam pius est Morus pro pietate codens 1 
O rex (lebucras insiijni parcere IMoro, 

llara avis est Moms sic super aslra volans. 
O rex si niultos homines tua sceptra regebaiit, 

At mnltos Moros non tua sceptra regujit. 
Millibus e muitis vis Morus ccrtiitiir unus, 

Tarn ductus, prudens, tani bouus atque pius. 
Quanta labc tuum regnum popuiuniquc notasti, 

Quum ferit insoatcm barbara pla<;a Moruia ^ 
Quis tibi jjeisuasit tarn clarum tollere fidus, 

Qiix mens, qux ratio, consiliiunquc luit i 
Qua; tua relligio parili sic jure nccare 

Igne Lulheranos, Catliolicosquc cruce ? 
Hoc liber ille tuus promiserat ante Lconi ? 

Hoc tituhis, regno quern dedit ille tuo ? 
Defenilisiie tiiicm veros tolkndo (itleles ? 

Cubtodem legum legibus ipse necas ? 
Justitianine colis justos feriendo securi ? 

Judiciumne facis judicis ora premens ? 
Consilium curas, et consiliarius iste, 

Maximiis absque uUo criraine morte perit ? 
Incidis ncrvos, ut corpus fortius csset ? 

Exlinguis lumen, clarius ut videas ? 
Ut sit perfectuni, scititlis de corpore membrura ? 

Evulsis oculis cernere f'rontem cupis ? 
Ecquis arare solct (erram non usus aratro ? 

Aut sulcare fcrura, s<»d sine nave, fVetum ? 
Et tamen ista facis, dun» Morum funcre toUis, 

Quem nidlus sana tollere mente Telit. 
Scd frustra aspeias tenebras offunderc Moro. 

Morus ubique volat docia per ora virum. 
Fortior Henrico Staplelonus : penna securi ; 

Ilia mori fecit ; vivere penna facit 



Quseiis, Arislidcs cur pulsus ab urbe fugatur ? 

Altera non causa est, quam quia Justus erat. 
Qusris, cur Socrates truculenta venenii bibebat ? 

Id fiiit in causa, vir fuit illc bonus. 
Qujcris, cur magnus fuit ille IJueiius cxul ? 

Nempe quod ille bonus, veriloquusqire fuit. 
Qujeris, cur Morus submittit coUa securi ? 

In promtu ratio est : optimus ille fuit. 


Quando tuam mortem recolo, celeberrime More, 

Tunc venit in mentem TuUius ille meam. 
Ille fori lumen, facundo clarus ab ore ; 

Tuque fori lumen, tuque disertus eras. 
Ille pator patriae, patrum dccus atque senatus ; 

Tuque pater patrise, tuque corona patnim. 
Dum furit Antonius, fetis occiditur ille ; 

Dum furit Henricus, tu quoque fata subis. 
Dum cadit ille, sua cum lingua Fulvia ludit ; 

Dum cadis ipse, tua morte Bolenacanit. 
Dum pcrit ille, caput rostris affigitur illis, 

In quibus liic casus dixerat ante suos ; 
Dum peris ipse, tui capitis damnaris in aula, 

In qua pro regno dicere jura soles. 
In muUis ambo similes, p,;r laus manet ambos ; 

Dispar at in muitis gloria, dispar honor. 
Dicitur ut Cicero Roraanos vincerc scripto, 

Moras sic Angios puriloquente stjlo. 
Plurima scribebat Cicero, sic plurima Morus, 

Plura tamea Mori quam Ciceronis erunt. 

Vol. I. X X 


In niultis vicit Ciceronem Morus : in ipso 

Vicit subjecto malcriaque libri. 
Vicit iQ ingenio : quis par in acurainc Moro ? 

Vicit iloctrina, jiidicioque gravi. 
Vicit honorc loci ; nam cancellarius istc 

Uiio anni uniiis consule major erat. 
Vicit in ardenti verae pietatis amorc : 

Vicit et in mortis nobilitate suae. 
Morus erat vates festivo carmine ludens, 

Insigniquc potens arte poeta fuif. 
Morus erat jurisprudens, vL\ major in orbe : 

Piiilosophus summus, si quis in orbe fuif. 
Morus erat custos Icgum, princepsque scuatus, 

Supremus judex, consiliique caput. 
Nee latuit Morum divini pagina verbi, 

Sic ferit haerelicos : sic legit ille fidem. 
Morus erat speculum vitse, fideiquc patronus, 

Insignis : martyr dciiique Morus erat. 
Tindallus, Trithns, Barnosius atque Lutherus 

A Mori calamo vulnera magna ferunt. 
Non sat liabct scriptis tales coiifundcre pestes, 

Sed pia confirmant sanguine scripta suo. 
Plura quid hie dicara ? vix haec bene singula dixi, 

Vincor ab ingenio, More diserte, tuo. 
Londinense decus, decus Oxoniense luisti : 

Urbs fuit ilia parens, ista niagistra fuit. 
Tu decus Angligenfim, rcgalis tu decus aulas, 

Tu decus Europse, tu decus orbis eras. 
Tu monstrum ingcnii : miracula sunt tua dicta, 

Delicise juvenuni, dclicixque senum : 
Obruor ingeiili ni;igiMriini poiiclere rerum : 

Laus Mori nostro carmine major erit. 
Qui nunor est Moro, non novit pingere Morum : 

IJoc si quis pot^iit, tu Staplctone, facii. 



Talis erat Morus quum causas dixit in urbe : 

Talis quutn populi jura tuetur, erat. 
Talis erat pleno quum fecit verba s.-natu, 
Orator populi lingua decusqu<> sai. 
Talis erat ludens epigraramata, sei ia scribens, 

Talis quum doctam scriberel Utopiam. 
Talis in liaereticos quum docta volumina format, 

Dum sacra defendit dogmata, talis erat. 
Talis erat Gallis et Belgis foedera pangens, 

Legati fungcns munere talis erat. 
Talis erat torquatus eques, prudensque senator, 

Pertracfans regni scrinia, talis erat. 
Talis erat tibi quum factus Lancaslria judex 

Ducatus tenuit jura suprema tui. 
Quum cancellarius Britannica sceptra tencret, 

Primo post rcgera munere, talis erat. 
Talis erat Morus, quum tctro carcere clausus 

Dogmate pro sacro vincula longa tulit. 
Talis erat dirx submittens coUa sccuri. 

At nunc non talem regna beata vident. 



iSe lugetc meo confusae funere natae ; 

Ipse ego mutari non mea fata velim. 
Truncum terra tcget, si rex non abnuat urnam ; 

Et mea jam tcrris noraina nota volant. 
Libera mens supcros repetet, ncque serviet unquam, 

In partem hanc quod agat nulla securis habet. 

X x2 


Tu quoquc sjiectalor, tranquillum si cupis xvum 

Exigere, ct lelho fur(ior esse tuo, 
Qui tibi membm cadant nullo in discrimine pone ; 

Quum sint natural lege caduca sux. 


Fortes Roma dedit, dedit ct iaudata discrtos 

Gnecia, frugales inclyta Sparta dedit : 
Massilla integros dedit, at Gerniania duros. 

Comes ac lepidos Attica terra dedit : 
Gallia clara pios, quondam dedit Africa cautos, 

IMuniiicos olim terra Britanna dedit : 
Virtutum ex aliis aliarum exempla petuulur 

Gentibus, et quod huic dcsit Luic superat. 
Una semel totam summam totius houesti 

Insula tcrrigenis Utopiana dedit. 


Dulcia, lector, amas ? sunt iiic dulcissima quseque 

Utile si querisj nil legis utilius. 
Sive utrumque voles, utroquc hxc insula abundat, 

Quo linguam cxornes, quo doceas aniraum. 
Hie fontes apcrit, recti pravique disertus 

Morus, Londini gloria prima suse. 


\ is nova monstra, novodudum nunc orbc rcperto?- 
Vivendi varia vis ralioiie modos ? 


Vis qui virtntum fontcs ? vis imde malorum 

Principia ? et quantum in rebus inane latct ? 
Hsec lege, quae vario Morus dcdit ille colore, 

Morus, Fiondinae iiobilitalib honos. 


Utopia priscis dicta, ob infrequentiam. 
Nunc civitatis xmula Platonicse, 
Fortasse victris, (nam quod ilia litteris 
Delineavit, hoc ego una praestiti 
Viris et opibus, optimisque legibus) 
Eutopia merito sum vocanda nomine. 


Utopus me dux ex non insula fecit insulara, 
Una ego terrarura omnium absque pbilosophia 
Civitatcm philosopliicam express! mortalibus. 
Libenter impcrlio mea, non gravatim accipio raeliora. 


Morus amoris amor, morura quoquc Morus araator 
Utopiam scribens tradidit Eufopiam. 


Desine facundas nimium laudare discrti 
Natas Ilortcnsi maxima Roma tui, 

Cuiidicla trcs cliaiitcs nam iMori cura pcliti 

Obfcurant mullis nomina vc&lra modis. 
Non illis stiulium Jlilcsia vcllera dcxtra 

Carpcrc, non facili duccrc fila niaiiu : 
Fed jiiv:U cluquii crcbro monumcnla Lalini 

A'crsarc, ct doclis pingerc vt'rl)a uatis, 
Ncc miiiiLs aiilliorcs G'rxcos cvolvcrc, Homcrum 

Et quem dicendi gloria prima manet. 
Ul nee Aristotclis dicam quo pcctore libros 

Scruleiitur, so[)liiie m^'stica dona dex'. 
Tiirpc viris postbac crit ignorare Mincrvx 

Ar(cs, grcx adco quas niulicbris amct. 


^lufideU, Doig, and Stevtnton, printtrtt Rd'tuhurgh^ 

3 1158 00746 7813 


Los Aiigi'lcs 

This book is DUE on the last date- stampwl Ijelow. 

^^i 2 1 1970 

^ MAR 1 5 197) 




■OV 1 TtWir 


Form L9-Seri^T44 


, , ijTMERN REGION*!. lIBWm f ACILir* 


D 000 663 632 


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